Manager Roy Hodgson admits he may have to dash the World Cup dreams of one of his senior England players this summer.
A third of the 30-strong squad for next week's friendly against Denmark have fewer than five caps.
The England manager has always spoken of his desire to take a handful of inexperienced players to the tournament in Brazil.
And should the likes of Saints teen Luke Shaw, Raheem Sterling and Ross Barkley perform well against the Danes, they may just nudge an established player out of the reckoning.
"I am very conscious of the fact that I could have to leave a big name out," the England manager said.
"It wasn't easy before the Euros to be honest. This time it is going to be even harder.
"Before the Euros at least I was choosing names of players I knew and players I had seen play but had never really worked with.
"This time I will have to disappoint some people I have worked with who have maybe done a good job for me and the team."
Hodgson is too clever to name names, but it would be reasonable to assume players like Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard, who have over 200 caps between them, are under threat.
Cole has been a mainstay of tournament football for England since 2002, but he is no longer first choice at Chelsea. Although Hodgson says he still "retains faith" in the player, the England manager dropped a hint that Shaw will get his chance to impress on Wednesday.
When asked whether the 18-year-old Saints left-back would play some part in the friendly against the Danes, Hodgson said: "It is a logical thought but I can't make promises.
"I think everyone who has watched him play recently will not deny that he deserves a place in a large squad like this.
"It would be nice if he gets to play on Wednesday night, but that decision hasn't been made."
Speculation had been rife that Adam Johnson, or Wilfried Zaha, would be recalled, but neither made the cut for the Denmark game.
Fit-again West Ham striker Andy Carroll was another notable omission. Hodgson insisted those players still had a chance of making his World Cup squad, though.
"This is not a definitive list," Hodgson added.
"The fact someone is on this list does not say he will be going or be one of the seven standby players because I reserve the right to change my mind on those subjects."
Mystery also surrounds whether England's WAGs will be going to the World Cup.
The presence of players' glamorous partners proved to be something of a distraction in the 2006 World Cup, but Hodgson is happy for them to be in Brazil if his squad so wish.
"We haven't made any hard and fast rules," Hodgson said.
"It will be up to the players to decide."
The WAGs will not be invited to England's first pre-World Cup training camp in Portugal, but they will be allowed to attend "the latter part" of the squad's final camp in Miami.