Arsene Wenger admits Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere must prove his fitness in the next few weeks to keep alive his bid to play for England at Euro 2012.
Wilshere, 20, has been sidelined since the start of the season due to a troublesome ankle injury which needed surgery after it took longer than expected to heal.
Wenger insists there is no chance Wilshere will be able to go the European Championships in Poland and Ukraine unless he has proved he is completely recovered by playing for Arsenal before the end of the current campaign.
And with only seven matches left in Arsenal's Premier League season, the Gunners boss knows time is running out for his young star.
"To go to a big competition without having played at all is impossible," Wenger said on Friday.
"In the next four or five weeks we will know more and the next three weeks will be decisive.
"You would think a player who wants to play in June will have to be competitive at the end of April.
"The next three weeks will decide (if he can go to the Euros).
"We try to keep the hope alive for him and without taking too many risks.
"That means we adapt day to day, to manage him, to improve his physical state and get him fit as quickly as we can without taking too big a risk, which means when he has pain we stop him."
Meanwhile, Wenger admits he is unsure if Morocco striker Marouane Chamakh will stay at the club next season.
Chamakh has struggled to break into Wenger's team since his move from Bordeaux in 2010 and infuriated the Frenchman after he was pictured smoking a shisha pipe with compatriot and Queens Park Rangers midfielder Adel Taarabt following last weekend's 2-1 defeat at QPR.
Chamakh, who has scored just one goal this season in 17 appearances, made his last start for the club in the FA Cup win over Leeds in January.
And Wenger wants the 28-year-old to concentrate on regaining his form before taking a decision on whether he will remain at the club next season.
"It's (smoking shisha) not the best thing to do," Wenger said.
"Will he stay at club next season? It's too early to say. We want him to focus completely - without smoking."
Wenger would prefer to focus on matters on the pitch, where his Arsenal side can deliver another hammer blow to Manchester City's hopes of winning the Premier League title.
City would fall eight points behind leaders Manchester United if they lose at Arsenal and their rivals beat QPR on Sunday.
Wenger said: "It (the title race) will not be over, but it will make things very, very difficult.
"City will fight until the last, certainly, but I believe we should wait and see what happens over the weekend.
"Unfortunately we are not involved in the title race and we will let them sort it out between themselves, but at the moment Manchester United have the advantage."