Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp has admitted pre-season training is 'make or break' time for Jonathan Woodgate.
Woodgate, 30, made just three appearances last season after picking up a campaign-ending groin injury in November which required surgery.
The England defender's career has been plagued by serious injury and Redknapp believes the next few months with a vital for the former Leeds United, Real Madrid and Newcastle centre-half.
Woodgate will miss Spurs' pre-season tour of the United States in a bid to ensure he is fit for the start of the new season.
"It's make or break for Jonathan now," said Redknapp, who has Michael Dawson, Ledley King, Sebastien Bassong and Younes Kaboul already vying for two starting places in the centre of defence.
"He has got to come back and play. If he is not ready for the start of the season it will be difficult for him. When he gets his boots on and starts playing hopefully he will be all right.
"He is a fantastic player – one of the best centre-halves around. We just take it day by day with him and see how he progresses."