Adam Johnson could find out today if his World Cup hopes are still alive.
Since Theo Walcott’s season was ended by a knee injury, the Easington-born winger has embarked on a run of form which has put him in the frame for England selection.
But Johnson is viewing today’s announcement of the squad to face Denmark in next week’s friendly as make-or-break. Miss out on that, and he will write off his chances of Brazil, a trip he had given up on until the turn of the year.
“I’ve thought about it a little bit more recently,” said Johnson, none of whose 11 caps have come under Roy Hodgson.
“It all depends on this next squad. If you’re going to have a chance of going, then you’re going to have to be there or thereabouts.”
The Denmark friendly is England’s last of the season.
Andros Townsend’s early-season performances in qualifying, while Walcott was again injured, looked to have made the right-wing position his own for the World Cup but the 22-year-old has not started a Premier League game since mid-November.
Johnson, whose last England cap came as a substitute against Norway in May 2012, was struggling to break into Sunderland’s starting XI at the time but his form since the turn of the year has been a revelation. He has seven goals and three assists in his last nine appearances.
Until then Johnson did not think he had any chance of playing in a first major tournament, but he is now more optimistic.
“It’s all been down to my form really, and everyone talking about me again,” said the former Middlesbrough youth player, who plays against former club Manchester City in Sunday’s League Cup final. “That puts it back in your mind.
“I’ve always thought that it would be great to go to the World Cup, and this is probably the closest I’ve been to being back involved with the squad again. That’s great.
“Last year, with not playing (for Sunderland) and being a bit low, I was more concentrating with getting back to playing my best here rather than concentrating on something that was probably a fair way away at the time. Now, it’s amazing how things change so quickly in football.
“I’ve got to take each week as it comes because it’s all a bit up in the air at the moment. There’s that many players to choose from, and people in and out of form or injured. There’s a long way to go, and a lot of things that can still happen.
“As an England player, you’re always going to have half an eye on a World Cup in Brazil.”