Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger feels that Jack Wilshere's hopes of playing for England in Euro 2012 will be over, if he is not back for Arsenal before the end of the month.
The 20-year-old, who is yet to regain match fitness, missed almost the whole of the season after undergoing surgery for an ankle injury suffered while playing for England last year.
Wilshere has been making steady progress in his recovery, but Wenger is far from confident that the midfielder will play for Arsenal this season.
"We try to keep the hope alive for him without taking too many risks," The Sun quoted Wenger.
"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."
Wilshere established himself as an important player for his club and country after breaking into the Arsenal first team last season and former England manager Fabio Capello had identified the player as key to England's Euro 2012 ambitions.
But Wenger admits there is no chance of Wilshere participating in the summer's European Championships unless he proves he is completely fit by playing for Arsenal before the end of the season.
"To go to a big competition without having played at all is impossible. 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," the manager said.
Wilshere had suffered a kick on his angle while playing for England in a friendly against Switzerland at Wembley in June 2011 and aggravated the injury during Arsenal's pre-season match against New York Red Bulls in the Emirates Cup.
The injury, later identified as stress bone fracture, ruled Wilshere out for around six months. The player was poised to make a return to the first team around mid-February but his recovery was hampered by a major set-back suffered in training during January, which once again left him and the club frustrated.