David Beckham is set to be handed an England recall today - raising the frustrating prospect of the former captain ending his international career one short of a century.
Beckham is currently on 97 caps - and having confirmed his fitness to Steve McClaren during the coach's whistle-stop trans-Atlantic trip last weekend, he can expect to add another appearance to his tally in next Friday's friendly with Austria.
Although a starting berth against Croatia five days later is by no means certain as England conclude their Euro 2008 qualifying campaign at Wembley, the odds would be on Beckham being involved at some point, taking him to 99.
However, should England fail to reach next summer's finals - and the matter is now out of their hands - Beckham could find himself surplus to requirements by the time the Three Lions head into a planned February friendly with Switzerland.
That, of course, is a fixture which may mark the start of what could be a totally new era, with a new coach.
Beckham, McClaren and the rest of the England squad will hope such a scenario does not occur - but they are reliant on Israel preventing Russia winning in Tel Aviv next Saturday to blow the whole qualification picture wide open.
So - because the former Middlesbrough manager cannot know whether next week's trip to Austria will be the prelude to a Euro 2008 mission there next summer, or the only chance England will have to experience the hospitality of the co-hosts - he has no option but to select the strongest squad available.
Rio Ferdinand, suspended for the Croatia game, is not likely to be considered. But Micah Richards will almost certainly be included despite lingering fitness doubts - while McClaren faces big calls over Ashley Cole, who has not played a game since injuring his ankle during last month's win over Estonia, and captain John Terry.
Ordinarily, Terry would not be considered amid an ongoing absence with a knee problem he exacerbated in training before the defeat against Russia in Moscow.
But with Ferdinand out, Jamie Carragher retired, Wes Brown operating at right-back for Manchester United, Ledley King still injured, Jonathan Woodgate and Michael Dawson badly out of form and Joleon Lescott virtually untried at international level - save for his hesitant performance at left-back against Russia - McClaren's central defensive cupboard is looking pretty bare.