Former Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp believes boredom and unfamiliarity with long periods away from home contributes to England’s problems at major tournaments.
England crashed out of Euro 2016 in the round of 16 in June, suffering a shock 2-1 loss to Iceland in Nice.
The national team have 10 points from four matches played in World Cup qualifying, but, should they reach the next finals in Russia in 2018, it remains to be seen if they can improve on some poor recent showings on the big stage.
“One of the problems with England is we seem to underachieve when we go to tournaments,” Redknapp said.
“I don’t know whether players are not used to being away and being stuck in a hotel and whether the boredom sets in and the pressure. They’re sitting there thinking too much about the consequences and [then] not playing well.
“It’s very difficult to find a solution to it when they’re away with England … they spend too much time away, sitting in their rooms bored, nothing to do, they can’t go out, there’s fans everywhere and they can’t go and have a walk even.
“So I just wonder whether that’s part of the problem when they go and play for their countries, these players. It’s something they’re not used to doing.”
Regular stays in hotels – even before home matches – has been common practice in Serie A in the past, but is not a technique often employed in British football.
And Redknapp, who was overlooked for the England role when the Football Association appointed Roy Hodgson as Fabio Capello’s successor in 2012, is unsure if his theory about England’s underachievement is related to the logistical habits of Premier League clubs.
“I think the Italians are more used to going to training camps, spending … three or four days a week there before a game,” he said.
“And we’re not used to that and we don’t seem to cope with it very well.
“But that’s only one reason, one explanation I could come up with as to why we do so bad in tournaments. But it’s just a possible, possible answer.”
England, under the leadership of interim head coach Gareth Southgate after Sam Allardyce departed following a newspaper sting, face Spain in a friendly at Wembley on Tuesday.
It Shouldn’t Happen to a Manager by Harry Redknapp, published by Ebury Press, RRP £20. For more information visit www.penguin.co.uk.