James Milner believes Saturday's friendly international against Brazil in Doha will be the ideal yardstick to demonstrate whether England should be considered serious World Cup contenders next summer.
Fabio Capello's side qualified for the 2010 finals in South Africa in impressive fashion with two games to spare by winning nine of their qualifying matches.
"This is a great preparation game. You obviously want to play the best teams before a major tournament," said Milner.
"If I was lucky enough to get on the field against a team like Brazil, it would be fantastic but it is all preparation for the summer.
"There are not too many better teams to test yourself against, and see how ready you are for a World Cup, than playing Brazil. They have been fantastic over the years and it would be nice to play them in the final next summer."
Milner has forced his way into Capello's plans after showing excellent form for Aston Villa since his club record £12million switch from Newcastle 15 months ago, and he knows he must make every minute count for club and country if he is seal a spot on the plane to South Africa.
He said: "The World Cup is a long way away. It is a nice thing to have at the end of the domestic season and definitely something to aim for.
"I am not thinking about that too much at the moment. I am taking each game as it comes and playing as well as I can for Villa. That is what gets you into the England squad.
"I need to keep working hard, keep improving with Villa, and playing good football. I do believe every minute on the pitch is important, not just for England but week in and week out in the Premier League.
"If you are lucky enough to get called into the England squad, and get the chance to get on the field, you've got to do well and prove that you should be chosen again. But then all the players want to keep improving and staking a claim to be in the squad."
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