The big question is not whether Rooney plays, but who partners him up front. Let's look at the candidates:
Lots of goals this season but something of a flat track bully who takes advantage of weak opposition. Perfect for Algeria but not any of the contenders.
Awkward to handle, the big man with the good touch on the ground gets his fair share of goals. Unfortunately, for a man of his size Crouch still seems lightweight and easy to dispossess. Battling defenders may get the better of him far too easily.
The West Ham front man is a crude but surprisingly effective battering ram. This isn't enough to guarantee him a regular place at Rooney's side.
Oh stop it.
Fell over in front of goal on an early Capello outing. He hasn’t quite recovered from the shame yet.
A genius in his heyday, Owen doesn't seem sharp enough in the few games he plays now. I'd pay anything for the chance to see him roll back the years but you have to wonder whether his time has passed.
The other contenders (Ashley Young, Gabby Agbonlahor and Sean Wright-Phillips) are impact players best kept back for later in games when defences tire.
So what is the alternative if Capello decides he needs a different option? Step forward Liverpool midfielder-striker Steven Gerrard.
Gerrard does well when paired up with clever strikers who use their brains as well as their brawn. He has the energy to harass defenders into mistakes. His high tempo style can split defences in half. He speaks the same language as Rooney - Scouse, which for American readers is a sort of English spoken only on Merseyside. They get on very well off the pitch. And the final reason? Having Gerrard up front could leave a Joe Cole-sized hole for a certain Chelsea playmaker.
Of course it won't happen. Gerrard is too highly regarded for his midfield work to be played elsewhere. Am I the only person who believes this could be a missed opportunity?
PS. As for who plays left back now Ashley Cole is injured, don’t get me started on that one.