Gareth Southgate will name his England squad for the 2018 World Cup on Wednesday, the Three Lions manager aiming to avoid speculation over his picks rumbling on too long and distracting attention away from the warm-up friendly against Nigeria and the early build-up to Russia.
Looking back four years and the squad that Roy Hodgson named for Brazil and what is clearly noticeable is that the big beats of the English football are no longer around.
Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard have retired, been to play in Major League Soccer and returned to the UK as television pundits and, in Gerrard’s case, to management with his spell as a Liverpool youth coach now followed by the Glasgow Rangers job.
Wayne Rooney may shortly be off to the USA too with his international service having ended and time now running out on his distinguished Premier League career.
So it will be a more prosaic set of names that Southgate selects, Harry Kane perhaps being the biggest among them on the world stage, but that won’t faze a manager who has shown he is comfortable promoting younger players on talent and potential rather than reputation.
Although back in 2014 the likes of Daniel Sturridge, Luke Shaw and Ross Barkley to be ready to take the World Cup by the scruff of the neck this time around they are all discounted after difficult years with injury and a lack of playing time with their respective clubs.
Rickie Lambert’s place in the international sun came and went and the feel-good story this time around will probably come in the shape of Jamie Vardy (although that is doing a Premier League title-winner something of a disservice) who was preparing for his first season in the top-flight while England jetted off to Brazil.
The full England squad from 2014 was:
(G) Hart, Foster, Forster
(D) Johnson, Baines, Jagielka, Cahill, Smalling, Jones, Shaw
(M) Gerrard, Wilshere, Lampard, Henderson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Milner, Sterling, Lallana, Barkley
(F) Rooney, Sturridge, Lambert, Welbeck