Arsene Wenger has suggested Jack Wilshere has from now until December to prove whether he will have a future at Arsenal.
Wilshere, 25, made his first appearance for the Gunners since May 2016 in a Europa League clash against Cologne in September and has made two more starts for the club since, impressing in the recent win over BATE Borisov.
The England international is still to play in the Premier League this season however having fallen down Wenger's pecking order after so many injury-stricken years at the club.
Wilshere is now in the final year of his current deal at the Emirates with the player insistent he wants to remain at his boyhood club. Wenger still hopes that will be the case but believes the midfielder still has to prove he can stay fit before a final decision is made.
Speaking to beIN Sports, Wenger said: "He needs to keep his health and be capable of competing. If he can play from now until December at the top level, he will be back. If he has other setbacks then it will be more difficult.
"It is a vital season because he is nearing the end of his contract, it is a World Cup year and he has been an Arsenal player since he was a kid, so all that is at stake for him and for us as well because you would love a player like him of that quality to come back."
Wilshere was left out of the England squad for October's round of World Cup qualifiers but the door remains open for him to make the squad for next summer's competition in Russia.
But as is the case with his club, the midfielder must prove that he is capable of playing regularly if he is to return to the Three Lions set up.
"We're in a position where there's no way we would dismiss any creative player. But people have to be playing and have to be playing at a good level," England boss Gareth Southgate said this week.