Jerome Boateng wants his place back in the Germany team - and has warned his young rivals he has not retired from international football.
National team boss Joachim Low dropped the 30-year-old Bayern Munich centre-back from his squad for the final two UEFA Nations League games with the Netherlands and France in favour of younger options.
It led to former Bayern great Lothar Matthaus admitting he feared Boateng's Germany career was over .
But Germany were relegated from League A without winning a game and Boateng warned: "Quality prevails."
He told Sport Bild : "I did not retire."
And he added: "Younger players have to get their time, even in my position, but in the end the quality prevails.
"You also have to play consistently, you cannot think as a young player after one or two good games 'Now I have the position permanently'.
"I've have been playing for years in the national team and for Bayern. I was consistent apart from a few phases in my career where it did not go that way."
Low at the time explained his decision to omit the former Manchester City defender by saying: “I’m convinced he could do with a good break.
“I told him I have several options for his position with many good young players coming through.
“I don’t want to just dump the 2014 generation but it is now time for further changes. The team needs pepping up and it’s my job to do that."
Boateng played in the opening game of the Nations League against the Dutch and Matthaus said: "I can well imagine that the national coach did not like it that Jerome left injured after the 3-0 defeat in Holland last month, and then completed a full training session at FC Bayern on the day of the France match a few days later.
"It could well be that this is a very long break for Boateng, as long as Low is in charge there."