Frank Lampard, Wayne Rooney, Owen Hargreaves and David Beckham would have expected to start the two recent ties, both won 3-0, had they not been recuperating from injury. Yet the assurance offered by the likes of Gareth Barry, Emile Heskey and Shaun Wright-Phillips in their absence has revived the national side's qualification aspirations, with Steve McClaren left to ponder whether to make changes to a winning formula should players return to fitness.
"Lots of players have put down markers - the likes of Gareth Barry and Shaun Wright-Phillips," said Terry in the aftermath of Wednesday's impressive victory over Russia which hoisted England to second in Group E. "There are people who have come into the side and are really wanting to fight for their place.
"But there are no guarantees for any player that he will start in the next match. We have done very well in these games and there are some key players coming back, so there will be some big decisions for the England manager to make. It applies to me as well."