Centre Gavin Henson has won 31 international caps for Wales
Warren Gatland has warned exiled centre Gavin Henson it will "take him a while" to rediscover his international form.
Henson boasted it could take him just "one or two games" to return to the Wales squad but the Ospreys star has been brought down to earth by Gatland.
"We know the quality of him as a player but he has been out of the game for a while," said Wales coach Gatland.
"It will take him a while to get back and if his club form is not good enough, he won't be selected."
The double-Grand Slam winner has not played rugby since injuring his ankle in an EDF Energy Cup defeat against Gloucester in March 2009.
Henson has been on indefinite unpaid leave from the Ospreys region since the summer of 2009 and is contracted to the Liberty Stadium until May 2011.
The 28-year-old has revealed he wants to leave the Swansea-based side to join a London club to be nearer his two children who live with his former fiancée Charlotte Church.
Henson, who is currently appearing on reality TV shows Strictly Come Dancing and 71 Degrees North, hopes to return to rugby to be in Wales contention for the 2011 Six Nations and the Rugby World Cup.
The only time I talk about Gavin Henson is if I have a newspaper or radio interview and I get asked by reporters otherwise Gavin hasn't been spoken about
Wales coach Warren Gatland
And he told BBC Sport in September: "I really believe that I might only need one or two games to prove I've still got it and I think the Welsh team has slightly missed me a bit."
Henson's defensive qualities are renowned and Wales' defence has come under criticism recently and the 2005 British and Irish Lion's international presence has been missed.
Jamie Roberts, the 2009 Lions man-of-the-series in South Africa, and James Hook are Wales' current first-choice centre-partnership heading into World Cup year.
And Gatland insists Henson will not be considered until he shows form at regional level - and he must depose Ospreys centres Hook and Andrew Bishop.
"There are a lot of players in the past that have been out for long periods of time with serious injuries," said the Kiwi coach.
"But it is difficult to comment on Gavin unless you see him play and see what kind of shape he is in physically, that will be the most important thing.
"The only time I talk about Gavin Henson is if I have a newspaper or radio interview and I get asked by reporters otherwise Gavin hasn't been spoken about.
"Until he starts playing rugby again, wherever that is, that's when we'll start potentially thinking about Gavin again and will he be involved in the Welsh frame."
Gatland has previously stated he wants Henson to return to playing by January if the centre wants to be considered for the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand starting in September.