England manager Roy Hodgson has hinted Jermain Defoe may have more of a challenge proving himself in the lead-up to Brazil if the Tottenham striker secures an exit for the MLS in January.
Defoe is believed to be close to confirming a move to Toronto FC after agreeing a deal with the club worth £90,000 per week.
The striker has often been out of favour with Andre Villas-Boas and has been almost exclusively utilised in the Europa League while Roberto Soldado is favoured in the starting line-up for Tottenham's league fixtures.
But Hodgson has sent a warning to Defoe over his proposed move to the MLS, claiming that being out of the Premier League entirely could affect his chances of being on the plane to Brazil next summer.
The England manager explained to reporters: "I would like to think it won't be quite as simple as saying: 'While you are in America you have no chance,' But on the other hand I am not prepared to go down the other route and say: 'If you go and play your football in America, you are still guaranteed a place on the plane.' I just have to keep my powder dry and choose the best squad when it is time to announce it."
Defoe has featured for England just once this season, in their 2-0 loss to Chile in a friendly. The 31 year old is becoming increasingly frustrated with his game time at Tottenham which has resulted in limited appearances for the national team but whether a move to the American league will help his cause remains to be seen.
Fulham are also believed to be interested in Defoe, along with former Spurs man Clin Dempsey, in the lead up to January and the hitman will likely have a big decision over the best route to Brazil when the winter window opens.