Roberto Mancini has warned Manchester City full-back Micah Richards not to expect an immediate England recall - even with Fabio Capello gone.
Richards was largely ignored by Capello and has not won an international cap since November 2010.
"Micah can be a top full-back but he needs to improve," said Mancini, who has praised Richards' potential.
"At this moment for the national team, probably [Liverpool's Glen] Johnson or [Tottenham's Kyle] Walker are better."
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“I don't want to say Micah can't play for the national team - if he wants, Micah can play always”
With a new England manager set to be unveiled, and the Euro 2012 finals only four months away, Mancini says Richards will have his work cut out to make the squad for Poland and Ukraine.
"I think he has improved a lot in the last year but he can still improve, he can do better," said the Manchester City boss.
"But I don't want to say Micah can't play for the national team - if he wants, Micah can play always.
"But if an England manager has a choice of three - Johnson, Walker, Micah - one of these players stays out."
Mancini has described Richards as "fragile" in the past and says he still must prove himself to impress the next England coach.
"Micah played for England with Capello but there are a lot of players in England," said Mancini. "One manager can call only 20-22 [players] for a European Championship."