Germany head coach Joachim Low is adamant that Michael Ballack must fight for his place in the national side.
The veteran midfielder is currently out of action after suffering a fractured left kneecap playing in only his third Bundesliga game for his club Bayer Leverkusen.
The 34-year-old picked up a right ankle injury playing for his former club Chelsea in the FA Cup final in May, which kept him out of the World Cup.
Low believes Ballack still has plenty of football left to offer Germany despite Sami Khedira forging a solid midfield partnership with Bastian Schweinsteiger in his absence.
Low told German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung: "If I thought that Michael could not help us, I would have told him long ago and that is not the case.
"When I make a decision, I shall immediately inform the player concerned."
Despite having 98 caps to his name, Ballack will have to work to regain his place, says Low.
"I want players fighting for their place," he insisted.
"Michael has the experience and class, he will fight for his place.
"Nobody can demand that I make a final decision about this when the next tournament is in 2012."
Ballack will miss Friday's key Euro 2012 qualifying match against Turkey in Group A and Kazakhstan in Astana four days later.