Manuel Pellegrini has warned his out-of-favour England players he can offer no guarantees over their prospects of pushing for a World Cup place at Manchester City.
Jack Rodwell and Joleon Lescott have both fallen out of the international scene this term, with Micah Richards's hopes of a return to the England squad scuppered by a series of injury problems last season.
The three have collectively made just five Premier League appearances for City under Pellegrini, with none being considered a first choice by the Chilean. And with Lescott vying for a starting spot at West Ham today in the absence of injured captain Vincent Kompany, Pellegrini claims his English players must prove their worth to City before contemplating their World Cup chances.
"Roy Hodgson must know who are the best England players to play in the national squad," Pellegrini said. "Here in Manchester City, they must show in the games that they play that they have the capacity to play in the national squad. It depends on them, but we have a lot of games during the year so all the players will play."
Rodwell emerged as a contender for Hodgson's squad after playing against Brazil at the Maracana at the end of last season, but injuries this season have halted his progress. And with Pellegrini favouring Yaya Toure and Fernandinho in central midfield, the 22-year-old's first-team chances have been limited.
"If he improves, all of us know how he can play," Pellegrini said. "He will have a chance. His best position? I think he can play maybe in the two positions where he can do well." City have claimed just one point from three away games in the league in this campaign and now face four successive matches away from the Etihad. "Of course we are worried about that form," Pellegrini said. "I think we deserve more points playing away the way we are playing, but the reality says we have one point from nine, so we need to win."