Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini has called on Micah Richards to keep improving to show he is the best right-back in England.
The 23-year-old now has the opportunity to impress another national team boss following this week's departure of Fabio Capello, who had been overlooking him.
Richards has been behind Liverpool's Glen Johnson and Kyle Walker of Tottenham in the England pecking order despite his fine form for the Premier League leaders.
Mancini has long trumpeted Richards' potential but has warned the defender not to expect an immediate international recall - his last cap came in November 2010 - because he still has much to prove.
Mancini said: "Micah has everything to become a top full-back. I think he has improved a lot in the last year but he can still improve, he can do better.
"At this moment for the national team, probably Johnson or Walker are better. But I don't want to say Micah can't play for the national team - if he wants, Micah can play always.
"If one England manager has a choice of three - Johnson, Walker, Micah - one of these players stays out.
"Micah played for England with Capello but there are a lot of players in England and one manager can call only 20-22 for a European Championship.
"I think Micah can really be a top full-back but he needs to improve."
City have been without their midfield inspiration Yaya Toure and the defender Kolo Toure since the January 3rd defeat of Liverpool due to their involvement in the Africa Cup of Nations with Ivory Coast.
That tournament ends as the brothers face Zambia in the final this weekend and Mancini is keen to get them back into his side.
With no game next weekend due to City's elimination from the FA Cup, the pair are likely to travel to Portugal for Thursday's UEFA Europa League game against Porto.
Mancini said: "We are lucky because after Sunday we have only one game in Porto, the first leg of the Europa League, and after we do not play in the Premier League.
"We have time to recover for Yaya and Kolo."