David Beckham fears he may not get to realise his World Cup dream in South Africa this summer.
The Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder returned to AC Milan on loan in January with the express purpose of remaining in England manager Fabio Capello's plans ahead of world football's showpiece event. And England's most-capped outfield player is widely expected to be among the final 23-man squad.
But the 34-year-old believes he is far from certain to be heading to his fourth World Cup, and - quoted in several of Sunday morning's national newspapers - he said: "Am I banking on going to the World Cup? No, not at all. I am not guaranteed to go to South Africa. I have to work hard and hopefully win my place."
He added: "There are a good few months left and plenty of games to play, but hopefully I can carry on playing well and get in the squad."
Should Capello include Beckham in his squad this summer, the former Manchester United midfielder will become the first England player to feature in four World Cup finals.
Beckham currently shares the record of three with Bobby Moore and Peter Shilton.
The former England captain's first taste of the tournament ended in heartbreak when he was sent off in the defeat to Argentina in 1998, which led to widespread criticism of the then 23-year-old.