Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has urged winger Adam Johnson to produce his best form for his club in order to work his way back into the England picture.
The former Middlesbrough player missed out on Roy Hodgson’s Euro 2012 squad after sitting out the vast majority of City’s run-in as they clinched the Premier league title on the final day of the season.
Johnson – who blamed his failure to make it into the England squad on his lack of playing time for his club – has been linked with a summer move to either Sunderland or Liverpool.
But Mancini insisted: “It’s not my fault he didn’t play at the Euros. Some players seem to think that when they don’t play, it’s the manager’s fault.
“For the national team manager, it’s difficult to choose a final squad of 23 players. Adam is a very good player and probably deserved to go, because under [Fabio] Capello he played regularly.
“But Adam found himself in the same situation as Micah Richards, who is also a good player. Sometimes, some players have to stay at home.
“But it depends on Adam, not me – if he deserves to play, he’ll play. He is good enough to play at a top club, but he has to play at the highest level all the time, not sometimes up and sometimes down.”