Fabio Capello has dropped a clear hint that England striker Wayne Rooney will be going to next summer's Euro 2012 finals.
England boss Capello has not spoken about Rooney since the Manchester United striker was handed a three-match ban by Uefa for his red card in Montenegro earlier this month.
As it stands Rooney will be ruled out of the entire group stage of the competition in Poland and Ukraine unless the Football Association launches an appeal against the sanction.
Despite the possibility that Rooney might not even get the chance to play in the finals if England fail to progress from the group stages, Capello is planning to include the 25-year-old in his squad.
Speaking at a Club Wembley breakfast hosted at Wembley, Capello indicated Rooney would be part of his plans as part of an observation about the balance of younger players and older ones in his squad.
"The young players are really good and ready to play with the seniors, and the experience of the seniors is really important," said Capello.
"During the games we need some leaders, people that know something.
"Jack Wilshere is incredible because he is so young. We also need the experience of John Terry, Rio Ferdinand and Scott Parker.
"You need this kind of player, plus Rooney, I hope."
Capello highlighted the emergence of the likes of Phil Jones, Danny Welbeck and Daniel Sturridge as positives for the future and the Italian believes the overall balance of his squad is far better than when he took charge almost four years ago.
"I am happy with my players," added Capello. "I have a lot of confidence in them.
"There are not many young players in the world who are better than the English ones.
"But you need to wait until the end of the season to understand if they are at the top and ready to play with the seniors.
"We had a gap between the oldest and the young. Now, with people like Wilshere, Jones, (Danny) Welbeck, (Daniel) Sturridge - it's really interesting.
"It will be a really good team for the next Euros."
There has been a lot of focus on England's training preparations for the finals after their preparation for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa was widely criticised.
Capello is keen for his players to be refreshed ahead of Euro 2012 and plans to bring the squad together 10 days before next summer's finals rather than the 20 days he used in South Africa.
"The players arrived at the World Cup really tired," noted Capello.
"In the friendly games before we went to South Africa, we won but did not play well, like the games we played to qualify.
"The players were not so fast, not so good. We need to change something at the end of the season to prepare for the Euros.
"I will stay with the players 10 days before the Euros start."
Capello is happy there is a decent gap between the end of the Premier League season and the start of Euro 2012 and he is confident his side will be competitive in Poland and Ukraine if they arrive fit and relaxed.
There is a three-week gap between the Champions League final in Munich on 19th May and the opening game of the European Championship on 8th June almost four from the final game of the Premier League season on 13th May.
"It's really important the players relax after the season because the season here in England is really strong," continued Capello.
"This year will be stronger than last because there will be a competition between five or six teams to qualify for the Champions League.
"Also, I hope some teams all play in the Champions League final and the other Uefa competition. But if we arrive fresh and fit we will be competitive."