England manager Roy Hodgson is confident Wayne Rooney will be fully fit for Euro 2016, but told his captain he will have to fight to win back his place in the team.
In the absence of the Manchester United striker, who has a knee injury, there were five forwards selected in the 24-man squad to face Germany and Netherlands this month.
Harry Kane, Daniel Sturridge, Jamie Vardy, Theo Walcott and Danny Welbeck all made the cut and, while Hodgson will take Rooney to France if his fitness is strong, he continues to stress that a place in the starting XI is no sure thing.
"I am confident he'll get fit," said Hodgson after announcing his squad for the games on March 26 and 29.
"I am confident that I won't have a situation where I have got the dilemma, if you like, of May 12 arriving and him still really not being 100 per cent fit, but he could make it if we take him to the tournament. That would be an unpleasant situation to find myself in.
"I have never said he's an automatic starter and I have not ever said anyone is an automatic starter.
"If you say 'does he have a good chance to be a starter with his track record, ability and experience?' Of course he has.
"But that doesn't mean to say that he necessarily will be because he might not have recovered to the best of his ability, we might want to play in a different way, we might want to use other players.
"What I say about Wayne Rooney is that he is our leader, he's our captain - he has been very good at that job over the last two years.
"We need him there, we need his influence, we need his ability as well, but his ability will have to be proven on the field of play and no-one is more conscious of that than Wayne Rooney."
Despite Rooney's status as captain, Hodgson does not think he would react badly if the decision was made to leave him out of the starting XI at the Euros.
"Wayne Rooney realises that if I've got a choice to make and the choice happens to be that, 'In this game I don't think you're the right man for the job' or, 'I think these players better', he would accept that because he's a footballer," added the England boss.
"He's a leader and our captain. What I have said, and will stick with, is if he's fit, he'll go. I have said that but not as an automatic starter."
Rooney, 30, has 109 caps and a record 51 goals for his country.