Netherlands boss Louis van Gaal has spoken of his disappointment with Wesley Sneijder's situation at club level following the midfielder's apparent omission from the Inter first team.
The 28-year-old has played a bit-part role for the Nerazzurri this season, and it was initially thought that a thigh injury - sustained in September - had been the primary reason for his extended absence.
However, sporting director Marco Branca's admission that Sneijder's refusal to take a reported pay-cut and contract extension has since fuelled a barrage of speculation regarding the Dutchman's future.
"I cannot intrude on the relationship between Inter and Sneijder," Van Gaal told De Telegraaf.
"It is sometimes difficult for a coach in that you cannot always say what you think, but I've been in contact with Wesley and we've already spoken twice on the phone.
"Sneijder is the Oranje's main creative hub and ultimately our real captain. When our player does not play for his club, it also has consequences for the Dutch national team.
"I'd like to think that he will play football because he has a major role with Netherlands, both on and off the pitch."
However, Van Gaal stopped short of revealing the nature of his conversations with the former Ajax and Real Madrid man, although he reiterated the importance of match fitness over training.
"I cannot talk about our conversations," he added. "I can advise players what they can and cannot do. Whenever they want something, they should look at themselves.
"Fitness in training is very different to that gained week in week out by playing matches. Some players need six games to be fully match-fit, others 10, some 15.
"It also depends on how long the player's been injured for and in what league they play."