Paul McGinley issues Ryder Cup warning to out-of-form Ian Poulter

European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley
McGinley hit the winning Ryder Cup putt in 2002

European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley has warned Ian Poulter he is not assured of a place in his team for next month's competition at Gleneagles.

Poulter has struggled for form in 2014 but his Ryder Cup record means he is expected to earn a wildcard pick if he falls short of automatic selection.

McGinley said: "I certainly have not told Ian Poulter he's going to be a pick. He knows that.

"He needs to keep showing form just like all the rest of the guys do."

Watch: Poulter's heroics at Medinah

He added: "But with his pedigree and his background, of course he has got a great chance of being a pick."

England's Poulter, 38, was one of the star performers as Europe pulled off the "Miracle at Medinah" two years ago, his run of birdies over the last five holes of the Saturday fourballs regarded as crucial to the famous fightback.

But 2014 has been a troubled year for Poulter, with injuries affecting his form and restricting him to just three top-10 finishes.

He missed the cut at the Open at Hoylake last month and finished 22 strokes behind Rory McIlroy as his Ryder Cup team-mate won the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in Ohio at the weekend.

McGinley, 47, nevertheless described Poulter as being "very close to the team".

"He's only one decent performance away from being automatic on the team. He's not a huge worry for me."

Eight-time Ryder Cup veteran Lee Westwood and four-time stalwart Luke Donald are also outside the top nine automatic selection spots and could also require wildcards.

With five triumphs in the past six Ryder Cups, Europe head into the contest at Gleneagles, which runs from 26-28 September, as firm favourites.

The Europeans boast the talents of Open champion McIlroy - now a three-time major winner - while Germany's Martin Kaymer is on course to feature after capturing his second major, the US Open, in June.

"It looks good at the moment," McGinley said. "Looks like we will be favourites going into the Ryder Cup, which has not really happened much over the history of the Ryder Cup. But that's a good position to be in."

Ian Poulter
Poulter has finished in tied for 103rd, 73rd and 52nd in his last three tournaments

Asked about McIlroy's current form, the Irishman said: "When he gets into overdrive at the moment he looks like he's certainly got an extra gear compared to everybody else in the world."

The fortunes of Tom Watson's United States side have been hit in recent days by loss of Dustin Johnson and fresh question marks over the fitness of Tiger Woods.

But McGinley, who is not playing at this week's US PGA at Valhalla because of a shoulder problem, said: "I'm certainly under no illusions how strong America is going to be.

"They have been in some ways very unfortunate to lose the last two Ryder Cups, where Lady Luck and a lot of players showing a lot of fortitude at the right time just edged out in front to win by a point on each occasion.

"The margin between the two teams is very small. We certainly won't be getting ahead of ourselves."