Tim Sherwood has challenged Etienne Capoue to show him that he is worthy of a first-team place at Tottenham.
Capoue became a regular under Andre Villas-Boas following his transfer from Toulouse last summer, but the Frenchman has only started one Barclays Premier League game under Sherwood.
The midfielder agitated for a move away from Spurs in a bizarre deadline day interview for a French newspaper in which he branded the English "ignorant".
The 25-year-old said he would consider leaving White Hart Lane in January if it improved his World Cup chances, but he was told to stay at Spurs until at least the end of the season.
Now Sherwood, who has a tendency to shy away from using holding midfielders, has told the France international he needs to prove his worth.
"He's here until the end of the season and hopefully he'll get enough chances to prove he's good enough to play in his national team at the World Cup," the Spurs boss said.
"To get in the team he just has to play and train well and show that he's as good as what's in front of him. That's how it is.
"Whatever we're left with after deadline day, it's pretty much a clean slate. I'm not going to pick anyone just because he's English or French, it's not like that. If you're playing well and I like you better than the other one, then ultimately I like to win football games so the best team plays."
Capoue, who was a target for Napoli, admitted he was unhappy with his current situation at Tottenham.
He told L'Equipe: "It's hard. I went from undisputed holding midfielder to someone applying to play. This is the first time I saw that.
"If I do not play, it will be difficult (to be at the World Cup). If something presents itself, we will discuss."
Capoue says he was also unhappy at being asked to play centre-back - a strange claim as he has only played there three times this term when Spurs were suffering from an injury crisis.
"I'm not surprised (about having to play there)," he said. "This is the English mind. "They do not know much about foreign players."