For all the concern about England's lack of defensive options against San Marino, it's very unlikely it will matter who ends up playing at the back, with San Marino's offensive options not going to stretch the side whoever starts. Up front, England will be hoping for a similarly easy ride and the chance for some players to notch one or two international goals.
For whoever joins Wayne Rooney and Theo Walcott in attack, this will be particularly important, as they will be fighting for a starting place against Montenegro. The candidates are Danny Welbeck, Daniel Sturridge and Jermain Deofe, although given the likelihood that whoever is picked will have to operate in a wide position, Defoe is probably not going to get the nod.
Welbeck and Sturridge are currently the leading young English strikers in the Premier League, but both offer very different attributes to the side. Whilst each can play wide or through the centre, Sturridge will cut inside and look to shoot as often as possible if starting on the flank, whilst Welbeck is happier staying wide.
This reflects their overall differences, with Sturridge a more clinical, traditional striker, and Welbeck perhaps a better all-round player, but sometimes wasteful in front of goal. For Manchester United this season Welbeck has put in several excellent performances in big games supporting the attack and helping the midfield to press the opposition. Welbeck is also good at holding up the ball, and very rarely wastes possession.
In contrast Sturridge is a goal scorer who might not always offer much else to the side. He can be frustratingly selfish, but now playing regularly at Liverpool he is living up to his reputation as a man who will score goals when starting matches.
Unfortunately for Sturridge, the role that will be needed might fit Welbeck better, with whoever plays expected to pull their weight defensively and in building up play. However Wayne Rooney is also able to drop deep, and Sturridge could then be preferred as a more clinical forward than Welbeck.
Indeed which of them is picked will give an indication of how Wayne Rooney will be used, and given Rooney's undoubted status as the best striker in the squad, Welbeck would perhaps be the better choice as the player most suited to supporting Rooney in his best position.
image: © vagueonthehow