Roy Hodgson fears he will have to make a big name omission from his squad for the World Cup finals. The England manager has selected a 30-man group for the Wembley friendly against Denmark on Wednesday and the next time he writes down as many names will be in the final countdown to Brazil.
Hodgson has called up the 18-year-old Southampton left-back Luke Shaw for the first time and the move has increased the pressure on Ashley Cole, who has lost his place at Chelsea. But it is in midfield where the casualties appear most likely, with a host of established players fighting youngsters for the right to make the cut.
Hodgson will name his final 23 plus seven stand-by players on 13 May, before the pre-tournament warm-up games against Peru at Wembley and Ecuador and Honduras in Miami.
"I am very conscious of the fact that I could have to leave a big name out," Hodgson said. "It was a very different kettle of fish a couple of years ago [for Euro 2012] … I don't think there was much debate then. But I am pretty sure this time around when I name the 23 there will be a lot of debate because there will be some important players about whom some people will say: 'We understand, he's done the right thing, he's chosen the right ones.' And other people will say: 'No, he's chosen the wrong ones.'
"You are always trying to get that balance right between what am I getting from experience and losing on the other hand with someone who is younger and doesn't have the experience but could bring something else to the team. Do I go this way or do I go that way? It is nice to have the choice."
Shaw wins his widely predicted elevation after a series of powerful performances for Southampton and, although Hodgson did not want to be drawn, he is expected to play him at some point against Denmark.
"When I thought of getting the 30 names [for Denmark], I didn't actually think along those lines but it is a logical thought [that Shaw will feature]," Hodgson said. "I thought it was the right time to let him show what he can do."
Hodgson also addressed the issue of the players' wives and girlfriends, and their attendance in Miami and Brazil. He said that he would leave the decision with the players.
"It will be up to the players to decide, presumably around the games more than anything else, if they want to bring their wives," Hodgson said. "There are issues. There are no doubts about that and it's important that they understand them, in terms of security."