David James believes Fabio Capello already knows who his number one goalkeeper will be for the opening FIFA World Cup™ match against USA on 12 June.
James, Robert Green and Joe Hart are vying to get the nod from Capello in a mixture of experience and youth. Thirty-nine-year-old James won his 50th cap against Japan in Graz on Sunday in what was his first international start for 13 months.
Green has started eight of the past 11 internationals since James was initially laid low by injury after being the first choice during the initial part of Capello's reign. But Hart has also impressed, during a successful loan season with Birmingham and when given 45 minutes action in each of the two friendly internationals with Mexico and Japan.
James has a glint in his eye and cannot resist breaking out into a broad smile when asked about the goalkeeping position. But it is a different scenario for England to be heading into a major tournament with the goalkeeping slot apparently wide open compared.
It is in contrast to David Seaman and Paul Robinson being virtually automatic first choices in recent finals. James said: "Is it the most open in terms of who will be goalkeeper? Possibly. I don't know.
"I believe the manager already knows. I really believe he does. Do I know? Even if I did, I wouldn't say. I just think he knows. He has given all of us a run-out in the two warm-up games with Mexico and Japan.
"But that was just to make sure everyone is right and had some game time for the tournament. There are no more friendlies now. That's it really."
James added: "Does my experience make it easier to cope with the uncertainty? Don't forget, I'm also quite experienced at being a number three with England. The main thing is I've got the utmost confidence in the way we are going to set up for the World Cup.
"That is the case, be it the starting keeper or starting centre-half - but, whoever is not starting, will also be well prepared. For the size of the squad, 23, there could be opportunities for anyone in there. One of Mr Capello's skills is making sure everyone is right and ready so it should be interesting."
England needed two own goals to overcome Japan in their final international before facing USA. But James felt the overall performance was acceptable enough in the context of the bigger picture for what lies ahead in South Africa.
He said: "It was a good win. The first half, going a goal down, wasn't ideal but other than the corner and the goal they didn't have much of a threat in the first half. "In the second half we opened up a lot more, created a lot of chances, the keeper has made some decent saves and in the end we've won by two own goals.
"In reality, the keeper has done well enough and the fact we created enough chances in the game should be a very positive thing to take from it."