Pavel Pogrebnyak is not good enough to play for Russia at the moment despite four goals in eight games for Reading this season, Russia coach Fabio Capello said Thursday.
Pogrebnyak is yet to add to his 33 caps since Capello took over in the aftermath of Euro 2012, and was left out of the squad for Friday's World Cup qualifier against Portugal and Tuesday's clash with Azerbaijan.
"The players in the national team squad are the best at the moment," Capello said when asked about Pogrebnyak.
He suggested the door back into the squad might not be shut competely, however.
"I know him very well. I've seen his last three matches. I know this player offers some great possibilities," he said.
Spartak Moscow's 24-year-old Artem Dzyuba was in the squad ahead of Pogrebnyak, 28, because of his greater opportunities to develop as a player, Capello suggested.
"I made my choice in favor of Dzyuba because I think that player could adapt into an excellent option in attack," he said.
"If Dzyuba's in the squad and Pogrebnyak isn't, that's my choice."
Among Pogrebnyak's four goals for Reading this season was a strike at Stamford Bridge in the 4-2 league cup defeat to Chelsea in August. His last was Saturday in the 2-2 draw with Swansea.