Joachim Low will do what he feels is best for Germany's hopes of Euro 2020 success when it comes to making a decision on the futures of Thomas Muller, Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels.
All three players were banished into the international wilderness by Low in March 2019 as he looked to build towards the future after Germany flopped at the 2018 World Cup, exiting in the group stage for the first time since 1938.
Attacking midfielder Muller (100 caps), plus defenders Boateng (76 caps) and Hummels (70 caps), boast 246 international caps between them and were all in the team that won the World Cup in 2014, but are now each 30 years of age.
Low reiterated last month that he would stand by his choice not to recall any of the trio, saying "nothing has changed" his opinion despite Muller enjoying a resurgence for Bayern Munich since being cast aside.
However, Low's decision has been under intense scrutiny following last month's 6-0 thrashing at the hands of Spain - Germany's heaviest defeat since losing to Austria in a friendly in 1931 by the same scoreline.
The 60-year-old was last week publicly backed by the German Football Association (DFB) to stay on until at least next year's rescheduled Euro 2020 finals and, speaking at a news conference on Monday where he also hit out at press leaks, he backtracked on his previous comments.
"After 2018 we saw that it was a very unsuccessful year, we said we were making a change," he said. "It is important to give young players time and the opportunity to develop during a transition.
"Like the 2010 tournament, something where the team developed. And because of the experience they have gained there, we are world champions in 2014. That was our requirement this time too.
"A trainer is always the first to be held responsible for success. I've always said when I see before the nomination [of the squad] that this team needs this or that - then we will do that. At the moment I don't see any reason, even if we lost a game.
"But next year we'll have to make a decision and I'll be the first to do that. It's not just sporting reasons that decide what does the best team look like, what is the energy of the team.
"But when I have the feeling, then I will do everything I can to achieve success. I have no idea what the situation will be like in March. I hope all players get through the winter well and stay healthy.
"We had a lot of injury problems. I hope that doesn't happen again. Let's think again about everything and turn every stone over. We then decide what is best for success."
Asked if he has already reached out to Bayern duo Muller and Boateng, or Borussia Dortmund centre-back Hummels, Low replied: "No, I have not."
Low has been criticised in Germany for failing to watch players up close in Bundesliga matches, but he has put his prolonged absence from grounds down to coronavirus-related protocols.
"We'd love to walk to every stadium if we could do that," he said. "It was the clear instruction to us, also from the doctors in the national team, not to go to the stadiums. On the one hand, we have international matches and we have to be in the bubble.
"We don't want to endanger anyone and we don't want to be endangered either. It would be bad if we coaches were absent. It was clear that we were in the bubble with the national team.
"That was also true until the end of the season, because from above - politicians also said to avoid contacts. It is a dangerous situation that, unfortunately, is not ebbing right now. We said we had a certain role model function.
"Believe me, I know the Bundesliga like the back of my hand. We have a great team, trainers and scouts. We watch all games. We know the strengths and weaknesses of all of our players.
"We look at the games, enter the data in our database and evaluate them. Then we also target the training in a targeted manner. But we will be role models until the end of the year and will not go to the stadiums."