Roy Hodgson's preparations for the summer friendly internationals against the Republic of Ireland and Brazil have been boosted after Chelsea indicated a willingness to release Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole and Gary Cahill early from their post-season tour of the United States.
The Europa League winners, whose 69-game campaign culminates with the visit of Everton this weekend, will depart on Monday for a lucrative week-long programme in the US comprised of two matches against Manchester City.
The Premier League sides will meet first at St Louis Cardinals' Busch Stadium on Thursday before colliding again at New York's Yankee Stadium 48 hours later, the exhibition games offering a timely further injection of revenue ahead of Uefa's implementation of financial fair play rules.
Rafael Benítez, whose contract as interim manager expires at the end of June, will oversee what will effectively be a first-choice Chelsea squad from those available – it is unlikely Eden Hazard, John Terry and Ryan Bertrand, who are all injured and missed the midweek victory over Benfica in Amsterdam, will be included – with the trio of England players to play in St Louis. They are then expected to return home thereafter ahead of linking up with the national squad at St George's Park on the evening of Sunday 26 May.
Either Cole or Lampard, both now elder statesmen of the set-up, will captain England against the Irish at Wembley that midweek, with Hodgson to speak with the defender to see whether he would be willing to take the armband on a one-off basis to celebrate his feat of becoming the seventh player to earn 100 caps for the national side.
His absence from the second Chelsea friendly increases the likelihood that the left-back will be available to start against the Republic of Ireland given long-standing issues with the player's ankles. England travel to Brazil immediately after that game for the weekend friendly at the Maracanã in Rio.
City, whose side will be managed by Brian Kidd in the US following the sacking of Roberto Mancini, also boast three England players in their numbers after Hodgson selected Joe Hart, Joleon Lescott and James Milner in his squad. Those three will stay with the squad for the second fixture in New York before arriving back in Manchester late morning on 26 May. They would link up with their national team-mates, as scheduled, that evening.