With the World Cup on the horizon, this is the period international managers earn their corn. Monitoring club form, tweaking the idea of a perfect Xl, deciding on who will be a good squad player and who to leave at home. For some countries, that decision-making process is going to be stressful. France manager Didier Deschamps is in for a particularly brutal process.
Having too many good options is an enviable problem to have, but nonetheless a tricky matter when it pits tournament-tested veterans with sentimental pull against rising stars. And few nations boast as many exciting prospects as Les Bleus.
Jules Kounde, 23, continues his growth for Barcelona despite being used at right-back rather than his preferred position of centre-back. Aurelien Tchouameni, 22, played a ridiculous, dance-inspiring over the top assist to Rodrygo last weekend in a derby win over Atletico Madrid. He's fully answered Carlo Ancelotti's demand to play better. Wesley Fofana, 21, just cost Chelsea a fee that could rise to £75 million ($88m).
Those are a few of the players who weren’t around in 2018, when France featured only two outfield starters older than 30 en route to World Cup glory. Most of the first-teamers then believed they would be able to keep their place in 2022 - but now that's not so clear.
Here are six of the most interesting starting line-up scraps Deschamps must track as the 2022 World Cup approaches, as of late-September...