Fabio Capello has admitted he would have no problem handing Chris Smalling his England debut against Bulgaria.
The Manchester United defender looks set to win the battle with Micah Richards and Phil Jagielka to fill the right-back role for the Euro 2012 qualifier in Sofia
Centre-half Smalling has impressed in the full-back role after being used there by Manchester United this season.
Capello admits he has been surprised by Smalling's form this season and feels he has improved as a player.
"He surprised me when he played at Wembley in the Community Shield against Manchester City," said Capello.
"He played well. In fact, the four games that he's played at right-back, he's played really well.
"I always saw him play in central defence before. He is playing with confidence. He has improved and improved."
Capello is likely to stick with his experienced players against Bulgaria despite the emergence of Tom Cleverley and Phil Jones this season.
"Some are ready, some are probably a risk because they didn't play at this level in such important games with the national team," Capello said of the youngsters in his squad.
"When you play important games for your club, you know the players who play with you, their movement, where you receive the ball.
"Here it's different. You play with the other team-mates, but sometimes you are alone."