Gareth Southgate’s expected line-up against Germany will sum up what has been a difficult week for the England manager.
Injuries have robbed him of star men Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, and Dele Alli, while the absences of Jordan Henderson, Harry Winks, and Fabian Delph have left him short in central midfield.
The likes of Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Harry Maguire, and Tammy Abraham are set to feature.
A double-header against Germany and Brazil is never an easy task at the best of times, even if they are only friendlies.
It’s that dire situation that has left Southgate scrambling around to put a team together.
Having initially turned to Danny Drinkwater, he was snubbed by the Chelsea new boy, who declined ostensibly because he didn’t believe he was fit enough.
However, the Mirror suggest that could have been his last chance at international level, as the former Leicester man has now turned down Three Lions duty three times.
Southgate didn’t rule out a return for Drinkwater, telling a press conference:
“I’ve no idea (if he’ll call up Drinkwater for the friendlies in March),” he said.
“I would have thought so. But we might have other players back by then. I can’t hypothesise over who I might be calling in March, but that’s the answer.”
In the 27-year-old’s defence, he did not even complete a warm-down in his side’s 1-0 win over Manchester United, in which he made a substitute appearance.
While his opportunities have been limited under Antonio Conte, he has been struggling with a recurring calf injury.
England are not blessed with an abundance of options in his position which could work in his favour, but he has essentially forced himself further down the pecking order with his latest call.