England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson has confirmed that there are three places are still up for grabs in his 2006 World Cup squad.

Eriksson said: “I’m very open-minded. What is important is that I pick the 23 best players.”

And he revealed the identity of several fringe players who he believes are still in with a chance of making the final squad.

“Darren Bent is one of the leading under-21 players and Kieron Richardson too,” said Eriksson.

“Aaron Lennon and Nigel Reo-Coker are not too young.”

On Bent and Richardson, Eriksson said: “It’s really up to them to convince me they should be in the final group.”

Lennon and Reo-Coker look less likely to make the cut, but he insisted: “If they play even better than they are today, who knows?”

“I could pick the squad now, at least 20 of them, then I have to start thinking harder.

“Maybe I’m just looking for a fourth striker, perhaps one full-back and the third goalkeeper.”

“You always hope some new player will come on, although with just six months to go that is not very likely.”

One concern for Eriksson is the match fitness of players like Wayne Bridge who is not a first team choice at his club Chelsea.

The England coach said: “You look at Bridge and question how many games he will have for Chelsea, likewise Kieron Richardson at Manchester United.

“And what will happen with Woodgate? There’s plenty to think about.”

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