Fabio Capello will unveil his 30-man provisional FIFA England World Cup™ squad on Tuesday cautioning against the belief his side have an easy passage into the knock-out stages.
Having heard the reports brought back from a whistle-stop tour of Premier League training grounds by FA doctor Ian Beasley and taken an update on Gareth Barry's condition from trusted assistant Franco Baldini, who is due to watch Manchester City at West Ham tomorrow, Capello will draft the long squad that must eventually be whittled down to 23 by 1 June.
A number of situations remain unresolved, not least the dilemma over Ledley King that has not been made any easier by the Tottenham captain's excellent performances over the past few weeks. On one hand, what is the value of handing a place to someone who cannot train? On the other, can such talent and experience be ignored?
The conundrum cannot be easily answered, hence the call to arms of Jamie Carragher, who is set to end three years in the wilderness by confirming his availability. All this goes against the backdrop of a Group C campaign that begins against the United States in Rustenburg on 12 June before taking in meetings with Algeria and Slovenia, then an expected passage into the knock-out stages.
If only life were so simple. Speaking to Eurosport's Eurogoals One-to-One show, Capello cautioned against over-optimism. What to others looks a straight forward route is fraught with difficulty for the wily Italian.
"After the draw everyone said it was going to be easy," said the Italian. "But our biggest mistake would be to think, just because we are England, that we have an easy draw."
Capello went through each opponent in turn to emphasise his point, starting with the United States, who have improved so much over the past two decades and now provide many quality players to the Premier League.
"The United States have always done well in World Cups. I was in South Africa last summer and saw them in the Confederations Cup when they beat Spain, who are not exactly a small team. They deserve the maximum respect. Slovenia eliminated Russia, who are a top team. We also played against them in a friendly at Wembley, which we only won 2-1 and they made it quite hard for us at times" said Capello.
"Algeria eliminated Egypt, who are the African champions. When you look at that people need to calm down because these three matches won't be easy at all. All of these teams are well organised and have good players."
Not that this knowledge will have any effect on Capello's planning, which would have been meticulous anyway. Injuries that have sidelined Joleon Lescott and Wes Brown for virtually two months since the victory over Egypt in March have left major question marks over that pair.
Everton's Phil Jagielka, only just recovered from a cruciate injury himself, could take advantage, although Tottenham's Michael Dawson has not been far behind King with his level of performance recently.
However, Carragher would appear to be in pole position now the 32-year-old has signalled a willingness to return and help Capello out, a decision that could effectively end Brown's hopes of being involved. Concerns over Barry raise the intriguing possibility of Owen Hargreaves being monitored more closely, although it would not go down well with Sir Alex Ferguson if the Manchester United man was called upon.
With Ben Foster so short of match practice, Paul Robinson comes into the reckoning as fourth-choice keeper in the preliminary squad behind David James, Robert Green and Joe Hart.