Sven-Göran Eriksson admits Peter Crouch is poised to be his World Cup trouble-shooter.
Only injury will keep Crouch off the England plane to Germany and his task will be to rescue games which are slipping away.
The Liverpool striker is Plan B- although that seems to be working better than Plan A for England at the moment.
Eriksson said: "Crouch is quite different. We could have used him even more. He's good, I like him.
"He's not the most elegant football player in the world but, if the right ball comes in, he will win it. He's good on the floor as well. He can keep the ball.
"I will not promise him a World Cup ticket because that's not fair but it would be difficult to leave him out."
Crouch has delivered at a time when questions marks are popping up elsewhere.
Eriksson says he is "98 per cent certain" of his final squad but he has no left-back and major doubts about Sol Campbell, his most experienced central defender.
Michael Owen is still to prove his fitness after break-ing his foot and the midfield balance is up in the air because Joe Cole, dropped to accommodate Eriksson's experiments last autumn, is suddenly his best player.
This is not a problem for Crouch, who has now come from the bench to help England turn defeats into last-gasp victories against Argentina and Uruguay.
The Anfield crowd roared him onto the pitch against Uruguay and then went wild when he equalised with his first England goal.
The chorus of boos which greeted his home debut against Austria at Old Trafford in October seem a distant memory.
Crouch said: "It feels good to turn that reaction around. The fans were great during the Argentina game and they were always going to be good to me here. The Liverpool fans have been great since I came to the club. It is great to score my first goal for England and even more special to do it at Anfield.
"The manager has never doubted me. Maybe other people did but he had every confidence in me and proved it by picking me for squads. I have a lot to thank him for."
Owen and Wayne Rooney will go into the World Cup as England's premier strikeforce but Crouch is comfortable in such company after moving from Southampton to Liverpool.
After winning his fifth cap, the striker said: "I feel I belong in that dressing room. I would not be here if I did not believe I was good enough.
"If I perform well for my club I can look forward to the World Cup like everyone else in that dressing room.
"You always want to start games but I am realistic. Michael Owen and Wayne Rooney are top-class players and they're going to start ahead of me.
"If I can play some role, it is great. It worked out well against Uruguay. I came off the bench and scored and we won. I want to be part of the England set-up and, if that's my role, that's fine."
Eriksson admits he could change his usual make-up of his squad and take five strikers to Germany.
He normally prefers four in his squad but the England boss said: "I have not made up my mind at all.
"Sometimes I am tempted to think we should take five strikers because of injuries, if you're chasing results, and who is in the best form.
"We have a couple of play-ers who can play in different roles in the backline or mid-field so that might open the door for a fifth striker."
This is encouraging news for Darren Bent and Jermain Defoe, who are contesting the role of fourth striker.
Defoe has not started an England game since he was replaced at half-time of the 4-1 defeat in Denmark in August.
Bent was chosen ahead of him against Uruguay but the race is a close one.
Eriksson said: "We know what Defoe can and can't do but I wanted to see Darren Bent on the pitch with the other England players.
"It was natural to give him the chance with Michael Owen not there and I think it was good to see.
"It's difficult to give all the players the chance when you have a national team because you don't have that many games.
"On one hand you want to see the best team play together, on the other hand you want to give new players a chance, which we did against Uruguay."