In a perfect world Fabio Capello would play his best side on Sunday against Japan in the last warm-up match before England fly out to South Africa for the FIFA World Cup™.

He would do what Brazil coaches have done down the years. Throw down his teamsheet for the world to see and declare: 'We are coming to get you.' Capello does not have that luxury, mainly because there are still problems to solve, plans B and C to be formulated, players to be assessed.

Much of the consternation has been brought about by the untimely injury to Gareth Barry. Capello knows he needs a holding midfielder. Without one England look vulnerable as they did in the first half against Mexico last Monday night when James Milner was pressed into central midfield service with Michael Carrick.

The problem actually is of Capello's making. During his reign Barry has been an ever-present in his squad, even this past season when he has not always been in the best of form for Manchester City.

Subsequently, there is no ready-made back-up in a position in which England are not overly blessed, especially since Owen Hargreaves has been excluded because of a season of inaction at Manchester United. By common consensus Hargreaves was England's most influential player in Germany four years ago. Hence the need to plug the void.

Capello could put Steven Gerrard there but he would lose one of England's main attacking thrusts and anyway Gerrard has not always proved to be the most dependable individual when the main job is restricted to putting out fires.

So, after disappointing performances by Carrick, Milner and Tom Huddlestone against Mexico, against Japan there is every chance we will see West Ham's Scott Parker given a late chance to prove he can provide protection in front of a back four which is not without its problems.

Not an ideal place for England to be two weeks from their first FIFA World Cup group match against the USA. Scuffling around to find solutions for a thorny problem in the midfield make-up, even though Barry himself would hardly rate as one of England's world-class players.

There is also a case for Capello to give Joe Cole, also one of England's best players four years ago, an opportunity. If Gerrard had to be deployed in the middle to cover for Barry, then Cole has shown he can be an effective attacking midfield force from wide left. He would bring creativity and much-needed unpredictability to Capello's side.

It all makes the Japan game not so much a match where victory is required to send England off to South Africa with confidence and momentum, but one to solve individual riddles. The hope, however, is that as well as looking to Plan B, Capello also sticks to what he knows best and remembers what took England through qualifying in imperious fashion.

That would see Emile Heskey return to the arrow tip of Capello's side. True, his critics would point again to his lack of goals and his truncated game-time at Aston Villa. Yet the fact is that Heskey simplifies England's attack. Heskey allows Wayne Rooney to play as the second striker in the hole where he can do most damage.

Yes, Rooney can play up front by himself. He has proved that magnificently at Manchester United. He can play with Peter Crouch who scores more goals than Heskey. But, for England, Rooney is at his best when Heskey is in the side as demonstrated in a qualifying campaign in which Rooney scored nine goals, the most of any player in the European sector.

Capello does not need any more proof of what they can do although Heskey could do with a game to sharpen his competitive edge. Most of all, however, against Japan, Capello needs to settle on a Plan B if Barry fails to recover.