Thomas Vermaelen
Thomas Vermaelen was handed a rare start against Manchester United. [Reuters]

Thomas Vermaelen has refused to be drawn on whether he will remain at Arsenal but has admitted that his chance of making Belgium's World Cup squad could be diminished if he is not playing regularly.

The 28-year-old was handed a rare start in the 1-0 loss to Manchester United after Per Mertesacker was forced out of the game through illness. It was Vermaelen's first start in the league this season and he was subsequently quoted as saying his aim was to remain at Arsenal.

However, he has now refused to be drawn on his future and would not confirm whether he was seeking to stay at the Emirates or depart in January.

"I don't want to speak about the situation because if I do I make it worse, so I don't want to speak. It is not about my situation it is about the team and they are doing well, it is not about me," he told Sky Sports.

The experienced centre-back did however go on to admit that he was pleased to start against Manchester United, saying: "Of course you want to play as much as you can, so I was really happy to play on Sunday."

Vermaelen has been out of favour for some time under Arsene Wenger and there was a suggestion that he would need to leave the club in order to secure regular first team football and keep his place in the national team squad.

There were reports earlier this week that Vermaelen had received assurances from Belgium manager Marc Wilmots that he would be in the World Cup squad even if he wasn't playing for Arsenal but the centre-back admits he has not received such a guarantee.

"I don't know if he said that, I didn't hear it," added Vermaelen. "Nothing is for sure, there is still a long way to go - there is big competition in the national team and you have to work hard."

There is certainly plenty of competition at centre-back for Belgium with the likes of Jan Vertonghen, Vincent Kompany, Toby Alderweireld and Daniel van Buyten all hoping to travel to Brazil next summer.