Ian Watson continues his monthly ranking of England's Euro 2012 squad hopefuls - whose prospects are helped or hurt by the two friendly wins?
After friendly victories over Spain and Sweden during which Fabio Capello displayed a willingness to experiment with tactics and personnel, Ian Watson follows up his opening assessment by re-ranking each individual player hoping to make the 23-man Euro finals squad and evaluating where they all stand in the pecking order.
Last month's rankings shown in brackets.
1 (1) Joe Hart
2 (2) Scott Carson
3 (3) David Stockdale
4 (4) John Ruddy
5 (5) Rob Green
6 (6) Frank Fielding
7 (7) Scott Loach
Unsurprisingly, absolutely nothing has changed in the goalkeeping department - England fans should still be praying every day to whichever god they worship that Hart doesn't sustain an injury in any of the 40 or so games between now and the start of the Euros.
Carson saw his first international action in three years when he replaced the Manchester City stopper halfway through the win over Sweden, but while the Bursaspor keeper barely put a foot wrong and, in fact, did well to claw Seb Larsson's mishit cross away from his top corner, the reassurance of Hart was still missed by all of us now used to seeing England's number one in the Wembley nets.
Beyond the top three, Norwich's Ruddy has shown more fallibility in his last two Premier League matches than he did in his first eight, while Green has only recently returned from injury for West Ham in the Championship. Loach and Fielding will likely be flicking through the holiday brochures as I type.
1 (3) Phil Jones
2 (1) Ashley Cole
3 (4) Gary Cahill
4 (2) John Terry
5 (6) Glen Johnson
6 (5) Phil Jagielka
7 (7) Leighton Baines
8 (8) Chris Smalling
9 (12) Joleon Lescott
10 (10) Kyle Walker
11 (9) Rio Ferdinand
12 (11) Micah Richards
13 (13) Kieran Gibbs
14 (NE) Danny Simpson
Capello fielded two entirely different back fours over the last week's two friendlies, and none of the eight on show did their prospects any harm.
Lescott probably furthered his cause most, with a Man-of-the-Match performance in shackling David Villa and Spain, while Jagielka also impressed as the world champions hit a Wembley wall.
Cahill and Terry, however, returned against Sweden and it would seem this is Capello's first-choice pairing.
Terry, though, has a police and FA investigation hanging over him, which he can do little about. The only thing the England skipper can affect is his club form, and there is certainly room for improvement in Terry's recent Chelsea showings. He may be less of a certainty but judging on-field matters alone, Terry is still highly likely to be heading to Poland.
Ferdinand, Terry's predecessor as skipper, was again omitted from Capello's 25-man squad and the Manchester United defender has done little to answer critics who say the 33-year-old is almost finished at the very highest level. The only thing more worrying than Ferdinand's fitness record has been his form when he has been available to Sir Alex Ferguson. With more-than-capable alternatives, Ferdinand needs a quite spectacular reversal in fortunes to make the plane.
One of the most interesting options is Jones. Listed in the original assessment as a defender, the United youngster followed up his debut at right-back by squaring up to Spain and Sweden from the midfield.
While his versatility will ensure he is one of the first names on the squad list, his strength could become a weakness when you assess his hopes of making the first XI for England's opener.
Cahill and Terry appear to be Capello's preferred centre-half pairing, while Wilshere and Parker will likely form the midfield shield. With international friendly opportunities limited before the end of the season and Sir Alex Ferguson continuing to give him a different role on an almost weekly basis, Jones may find himself relying on the misfortune of others if he is to begin Euro 2012 anywhere other than the bench.
Capello confirmed his mistrust of Richards by omitting him from the squad altogether and while Walker enjoyed a steady debut at right-back, Smalling remains a better defensive option than he or Johnson. The nature of the opposition threat, though, will dictate what qualities Capello wants most from his full-backs and the manager will be pleased to have numerous options.
1 (4) Scott Parker
2 (1) Jack Wilshere
3 (2) Ashley Young
4(3) Steve Gerrard
5 (5) Stewart Downing
6 (7) Frank Lampard
7 (6) Gareth Barry
8 (10) Theo Walcott
9 (NE) Jack Rodwell
10 (8) Adam Johnson
11 (9) James Milner
12 (12) Tom Cleverley
13 (13) Joe Cole
14 (14) Jordan Henderson
15 (15) Michael Carrick
16 (16) Joey Barton
After Capello said of Scott Parker, "he is always in the first XI", the Tottenham midfielder shoots to the number one midfield spot - not surprising after a very impressive month for club and country.
Young and Wilshere remain crucial to Capello, despite neither featuring in the recent squad because of injuries. Gerrard fitness issues remain a concern, though, the positive there if anyone chooses to see it is that fatigue is not likely to be an problem for England's vice-captain come next summer.
Beyond that quartet of certain travelers, Capello has at least seven midfielders to fit into a maximum of a four slots.
Downing and Lampard did their prospects little harm with decent showings against Sweden and Spain respectively, while Barry looked accomplished on Tuesday in a more advanced role than he might be used to in an England shirt. Walcott played just over 100 minutes over the two friendlies, showing a responsible side to his game against Spain before reverting more to type in an hour against the Swedes.
The Arsenal flyer, though, seems to intrigue Capello, and you cannot blame the manager for wanting to see more of Walcott after his fine club form over the last month.
Injuries had certainly hampered Rodwell's progress over the last year, but the Everton midfielder impressed Capello in his first two full internationals. Rodwell still has a lot of work to do between now and May if he is to make the plane, but the 20-year-old has put himself firmly in the frame.
The obvious self-confidence of Adam Johnson suggests he will not be too worried about not making the squad, but perhaps he should be.
An on-song Johnson should be on the fringes of the first XI, let alone the squad, but Roberto Mancini and Capello do not seem ready to trust the winger just yet.
Mancini has been very keen to keep Johnson in his place this season, despite the 24-year-old generally doing the business when he has been given the chance. Like City team-mate Milner, Johnson has a big job on over the remainder of the season to show what he can offer Capello that no-one else can.
Despite my earlier misplaced optimism that Owen Hargreaves might be able to get himself out onto a football pitch soon, he now appears out of the running altogether.
1 (2) Darren Bent
2 (1) Wayne Rooney
3 (6) Danny Welbeck
4 (3) Bobby Zamora
5 (8) Gabby Agbonlahor
6 (4) Daniel Sturridge
7 (7) Jermain Defoe
8 (5) Andy Carroll
9 (9) Peter Crouch
Since the opening assessment, when it was assumed that Rooney's ban would be two matches, Capello has since discovered that he may be without his talisman for the entire duration of the group stage. We await the outcome of the Football Association's appeal next month.
As I said last month, though: a fit Rooney goes to Polkraine. If England get through to the knockout stages, the forward's return could give everyone a timely lift. Everyone except Bent, probably.
Bent looks the heavy favourite to start in place of Rooney, and though he contributed little against Spain, one cannot judge him on that match alone, when the Villa hitman found himself unsurprisingly isolated as his support acts occupied themselves instead with the task of stopping the best team in the world.
Rooney's ban gives Capello a conundrum: four strikers or five?
With the manager favouring a single point striker ahead of usually three advanced midfielders, four strikers would still seem to be enough. Welbeck, who impressed Capello in a cameo against Spain and has a huge fan in Ferguson, is capable of playing as furthest forward or deeper, so he would seem a likely squad member.
Then it depends what Capello wants from his fourth forward.
Sturridge, like Welbeck, offers some versatility in a front line, but chances between now and next summer in a central role would appear to be extremely limited and the Chelsea youngster's 32-minute appearance against Sweden passed him by. Zamora made his first start against Sweden and while the Fulham striker showed well with his back to goal, he did not offer a great deal facing it.
A cruelly-timed injury robbed Agbonlahor of the chance to take his fine club form on to the international scene, though we may see more of the Villa forward, especially if he continues to combine well with Bent.
Defoe has offered a goal threat from the bench for Tottenham, which may ultimately be the job of Capello's fourth striker, while everyone is still waiting with increased impatience for Carroll to get going in a Liverpool shirt, let alone an England one.
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