Now that qualification for Euro 2012 has been confirmed the real questions need to be addressed. Because topping a group that contains Montenegro and Bulgaria is one thing, but avoiding getting our arses handed to us on a plate by the Germans and Spanish is quite another. Here are the Cutter’s ten for starters….

Is Barry an automatic starter regardless of form?

Gaz Baz divides opinion to such an extent that if he were ever pictured with Robbie Savage both eating Marmite a seismic chasm would physically split the country in two, quickly filling up with water until we essentially became two islands. Some say he’s criminally under-rated; that if you stick a ‘Di’ in the middle of his name his continental, simplistic style of play would be better appreciated. Others insist he’s ponderous, immobile and contributes little.

Whatever the truth – and we suspect it probably lies somewhere in the middle of such polarising views – Manchester City’s ‘quarterback’ is undeniably a firm Capello favourite. To what extent though? What would happen if Barry has a relatively poor season while a young pretender to his throne – say Rodwell for example – rises to the challenge of replacing Arteta in the middle of Goodison Park? What about if Lampard revives a thus far disappointing year by settling into a deeper role at Chelsea? In the Cutter’s opinion Fat Frank has played some of his best games for England when he’s been disciplined to that holding position due to Gerrard’s forays forward. What if we get lucky with form and fitness and have all of the main midfield contenders fit, firing and available for Poland? Parker, Wilshere, Gerrard, Lampard, Milner, Huddlestone, Cleverley…the list is encouragingly extensive and diverse. There is scope amongst that group to mould an energetic, biting, creative engine-room. Will Capello stubbornly continue to hand Barry a first team place because he values the qualities he possesses – the type of player he is – as opposed to selecting the two best men for the job?

Is Plan B still 4-4-2?

With five friendlies lined up between now and next summer it is hoped that Capello will persist with the recent change to 4-2-3-1 that can quickly evolve into 4-3-3 or consolidate to a 4-5-1 depending on the ever-changing ebb and flow of each game. Though performances with this formation have so far been mixed it undeniably gives England a greater fluidity. Furthermore it is a system employed by 90% of the Premier League clubs and the players are used to it. The fear is that, should England struggle to get off to a good start in next year’s tournament, or find themselves chasing a game they’re required to win then Fabio will revert to his old entrusted, encrusted ways.

If we wanted a straightforward, paint-by-numbers 4-4-2 the FA could have saved itself £6m a year and drafted in Dave fucking Bassett.

Please Fabio don’t pick someone such as Matt Jarvis for an hour if you have little intention of taking him to Poland.

How much experimentation will be sought from the five friendlies and to what purpose?

International managers have extremely limited time and opportunity to access each member of their squad, forge some kind of team-spirit and togetherness, impose a uniform playing style where everyone is reading from the same script, and drill into them exactly what is expected at various set-plays. In amongst all that he also has to try out new faces, have one eye on the future, and deal with crabby club bosses who insist their star player is substituted at half-time. The Graham Taylor documentary called it right – it is indeed an impossible job. With just five matches – and maybe ten half-days on the training pitch – to nail all of this before he must choose his final 23 it amounts to an extremely compressed pre-season. But of course it gets worse. Much worse. Because those five games are spread out over a period of time where injuries deprive him of key personnel and form may horribly dip. Not only will the back four need reminding of their instructions from the previous meet-up but they will probably be made up of different individuals anyway. That intricate move you worked on involving Rooney and Carroll is now redundant because the burly Geordie has a calf strain and you have Darren Bent looking at you blankly.

As previously mentioned there is a new system of play to fine-tune so with all this in mind it is hoped that unnecessary experimentation is kept to a minimum. By which I mean please Fabio don’t pick someone such as Matt Jarvis for an hour if you have little intention of taking him to Poland. Don’t be swayed by the media if they push forward an in-form player solely to appease them (and by extension the English public). By this stage it is hoped Capello knows his best players, his best formation, and they in turn are aware of what is expected of them individually. The friendlies up ahead should be used to iron out creases not try on a completely different outfit just for the sake of it.

What’s the deal with Micah Richards?

For the 4-2-3-1 formation to work at its best you require athletic, adventurous full-backs who are willing to provide width at every opportunity. There is currently no one better for such a task down the England right than Micah Richards. He is excelling at this exact role week-in week-out at Man City, playing alongside World Cup winners and often getting the lion’s share of the plaudits. Since Christmas Richards has been nothing short of superb, marauding forward using his strength and pace yet possessing the stamina and hunger to eradicate his previously suspect positional play.

Capello however appears to have a personal issue with the player that has resulted in him instead favouring two young centre-back prospects being played out of their comfort zone. While no-one is doubting Smalling and Jones’ pedigree and potential it is a move that has perplexed many.

In short, the full-back positions for England are sorted. They’re complete and we can forget about them and look at other areas that need resolving. We have Cole and Richards with Baines and Walker providing similar qualities as back-up. With those four in mind we have our wide defensive options covered with such calibre we can look any opposition squarely in the eye.

It is truly baffling why Capello insists on over-looking a right-back who is playing out of his skin in favour of someone playing out of position.

England’s approach has usually been to select whoever is firing on all cylinders around the time a squad is announced.

Will all strikers aside from Rooney be chosen late-on and dependant on form?

There are arguments for and against either strategy but most countries appear to favour sticking with their front men regardless of feast or famine thereby allowing them to feel settled in the national set-up. This gives a sense of continuity; their team-mates get to intuitively know their movements, and, in all probability, means less scuffed howlers from six yards out as the player in question doesn’t fear he’s going to be dropped as a consequence.

England’s approach has usually been to select whoever is firing on all cylinders around the time a squad is announced.

Which is fine…in theory. However the theory hasn’t produced that great a dividend in recent times has it?

After four years in the job – on £6m a year, without the day-to-day demands that a club manager faces – isn’t the fact that you still only speak pidgin English a fucking disgrace?

If Barkley, Oxlade-Chamberlain, McEachran or any of England’s exceptionally promising pups break through this season would you consider taking them to Poland?

And not like Eriksson did with Walcott in 2006. We mean to actually utilise them and benefit from their youthful enterprise and lack of fear. It worked for Germany. In fact, the retrospective opinion appears to be that the Ballack injury just prior to the tournament was the best thing that could have happened for them; it allowed the kids the freedom to express themselves away from the intimidating presence of the dominating alpha male. We can discuss how best to deploy a three-man midfield, tactics, diet, preparation, and any number of other things until the cows come home but sometimes a really beneficial policy is to throw a talented youngster a shirt and say ‘Show everyone what you can do son. Make your parents proud’.

Like Eriksson before him the Italian was coming over and seeing our league and players with fresh eyes.

Have lessons been learnt from the World Cup debacle?

Outclassed, out-fought and out-thought England’s limitations were horribly exposed last year in South Africa. Against the sprite and youthful adventure of the Germans in particular England looked one-dimensional, adhering to every negative stereotype thrown our way in the past few decades.

Will the Cahill/Terry partnership prove to be the new Upson/Terry and be ripped apart with ease? Will the slow-as-fuck Barry be the last man back again to deal with counter attacks when we have a corner? Will we continue to plod our way through games playing in ABC straight lines? Will Capello himself continue to treat his players like naughty children locked away in a Colditz environment in between matches?

Are you prepared to look beyond the top five?

An old chestnut I know but we initially held some hope for Capello that he might go against tradition and select players based on their suitability and form and not who they play for. Like Eriksson before him – who opted for Charlton’s Chris Powell in his first game before soon lapsing into ‘big five’ preferences – the Italian was coming over and seeing our league and players with fresh eyes. There was very little preconceptions for Villa, Spurs and Everton players to overcome.

Alas, almost immediately Capello seemed to be content to sit in a plush seat at Stamford Bridge one week and Old Trafford the next meaning that anyone who plays for a mid-table side or lower has to be consistently sensational even to get a look-in.

Example – last season Tom Cleverley showed immense promise on loan at Wigan but never got a sniff. A mere forty-five minutes in the Charity Shield for United and he was suddenly lauded as England’s future and given a swift promotion into the squad for the cancelled Holland friendly.

You are definitely going aren’t you?

Fabio, if you only answer one of the above please let it be this one and please let it be with an adamant ‘si’.