Eni Aluko has accused England Women manager Mark Sampson of choosing his favourites rather than in-form players for his Euro 2017 squad.
The 102-cap striker, who has scored 33 goals for England , has been absent from the Lionesses squad for almost a year and sees no way back.
Aluko was left out of the 23-player party for the summer tournament in Holland, and she also missed out on the standby list for the tournament.
Chelsea Ladies frontwoman Aluko was the leading scorer in last season’s Women’s Super League but believes her face did not fit for Sampson, who took her to the 2015 World Cup but discarded her midway through the Euro 2017 qualifying campaign.
Sampson recently told Press Association Sport the door was not closed to Aluko, however the 30-year-old clearly suspects that is not the case.
She told BBC Radio 5 Live: “This is the first time in 12 years I’ve not been selected for a major tournament.
“But am I surprised? Not at all. It wasn’t a surprise I wasn’t in the squad. In fact I knew I wouldn’t be.
“After winning the (WSL) golden boot last year and still not being selected, I think it’s pretty clear to me that the door is shut and the door has been shut now on certain players for a while now.
“I haven’t spoken to Mark Sampson now in over 12 months, and I think the door is shut, but he’s said publicly that the door isn’t shut.
“So I’m really intrigued to find out how that door can be opened again.
“It’s difficult to understand the reasons why I haven’t been part of the set-up, but no one died, I’m okay, I’m comfortable.”
Aluko said England’s squad contained a “great bunch of players” who she believes are “more than capable of winning the tournament”.
But her absence hurt, and she added: “Mark Sampson has publicly said that he doesn’t pick on form, so the other criteria is clearly based on popularity; I think he’s spoken about team dynamics as well, and character.
“I think the message it’s sending out is that if you’re popular with the manager you get into the team.”
Goalkeepers: Karen Bardsley (Manchester City), Siobhan Chamberlain (Liverpool), Carly Telford (Notts County)
Defenders: Laura Bassett (Notts County), Lucy Bronze (Manchester City), Alex Greenwood (Liverpool), Steph Houghton (Manchester City), Jo Potter (Notts County), Alex Scott (Arsenal), Demi Stokes (Manchester City), Casey Stoney (Liverpool)
Midfielders: Millie Bright (Chelsea), Isobel Christiansen (Manchester City), Jade Moore (Notts County), Jordan Nobbs (Arsenal), Jill Scott (Manchester City), Fara Williams (Arsenal)
Forwards: Karen Carney (Chelsea), Toni Duggan (Manchester City), Fran Kirby (Chelsea), Nikita Parris (Manchester City), Jodie Taylor (Arsenal), Ellen White (Birmingham City)