England midfielder David Beckham expects the scrap for places in Fabio Capello's squad to hot up when the Barclays Premier League season starts this weekend.
Beckham started in the draw against Holland but Theo Walcott is first choice on the right flank, with Shaun Wright-Phillips, James Milner and Aaron Lennon breathing down their necks.
"Without a doubt competition for places is growing stronger," Beckham said. "It's like that week-in, week-out and it's what you want in a World Cup year."
He added: "Hopefully once we qualify that will continue because you want competition, it's what makes great teams. If no-one is pushing you then you are not pushing yourself so it's important we've got that."
Capello's men are on the brink of sealing their place in South Africa next year and the Italian will then have some massive decisions.
Beckham is expected to be loaned from LA Galaxy to AC Milan to maintain his sharpness at the end of the MLS campaign.
The 34-year-old, who again refused to rule out an eventual return to the Premier League, said: "It's important I'm playing in a European league leading up to the World Cup."
In goal, Robert Green has started three games in a row following injury to David James.
"I feel I am finding my feet at international level," the West Ham stopper said. "This was the most comfortable I have ever felt in the international scene.
"I'm sure David James will come back fitter and stronger than ever. There are a number of other guys wanting the shirt and whoever is on form will get the shirt."
Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: https://www.givemesport.com/writeforgms