Gareth Southgate admits he is uncertain when Danny Drinkwater might be seen in an England shirt again.
The Three Lions boss contacted Drinkwater with a view to including him in the squad to face Germany on Friday and Brazil four days later – but the Chelsea midfielder declined the call-up due to fitness concerns.
He has made one start and three substitute appearances since joining joining from Leicester for £35million, but last played 90 minutes in April and took a knock to the calf while playing against Manchester United last weekend.
With just six friendlies before next summer’s World Cup, time is running short for Drinkwater.
On Drinkwater, who won the last of three caps in May 2016, Southgate said: “I wanted to find out where he felt he was. He felt he wasn’t ready yet to play this level.
“If Danny didn’t feel he wasn’t ready for that I can understand it given the amount of minutes he’s had and didn’t play at the end of the season with Leicester either.”
Asked whether the chance would come again in the next international break, the manager added: “I’ve no idea. I would have thought so, but we might have other players back by then.
“I can’t hypothesise over who I might be calling in March. I have no idea of how he feels or where he’s at physically.”