England manager Fabio Capello revealed Saturday he still has three open spots in the 23-man squad that will go to the World Cup in South Africa, and that players will have a final chance to impress him in Sunday's friendly against Japan.
Speaking at the team's training camp at high altitude in Austria, Capello said the likes of Tom Huddlestone, Aaron Lennon and Darren Bent will face the Japanese in Graz to push their chances of playing in the June 11-July 11 competition.
"Twenty for sure will stay with me. I already know the players who have been with us during qualification very well," Capello said. "Here [against Japan] we have new players. For me these are the ones who it is most important to check.
"We need to know everything about what positions they take up on the pitch and what they do in key moments throughout the game."
He also said injured midfielder Gareth Barry was improving rapidly and would be given right up until Tuesday's deadline to prove his fitness.
A regular starter under Capello, Barry injured ankle ligaments playing for Manchester City against Tottenham on May 5 and has been unable to train since.
"He is a very important holding player. He has improved a lot.
The doctor says he is really good," Capello said. "But we have to wait until the last check next Tuesday. After that we will decide whether he will be with us in South Africa."
Capello also said that veteran goalkeeper David James, who turns 40 shortly after the World Cup, would start for the first time in 10 games. James has missed matches through injury but is also being challenged for the starting position by Robert Green and Joe Hart.
The former AC Milan coach said the decision on the final squad of 23 would be his alone.
"I decide. If we lose, I want to know that I lose with my decisions," he said. "But we need leaders on the pitch and leaders in the dressing room.
"Also a very important thing that I said to the players that I want to see the English spirit. You can have an Italian manager, Brazilian manager, Swedish manager, Scottish manager and you can learn different styles. But I want to see the English spirit on the pitch."