Terry Butcher says a major overhaul of youth football in England is the only way the national team can challenge for major honours.
Roy Hodgson’s side have been widely criticised for their negative approach at Euro 2012 after being knocked out by Italy in the quarter-finals.
Butcher, who won 77 caps in central defence for the Three Lions and appeared in three FIFA World Cups, believes too many foreign players in the Premier League have had a negative effect on the England team.
“Unfortunately, in football terms, the English are still guilty of using broadswords and battle axes and remain firmly in the Dark Ages when it comes to subtlety and finesse,” he wrote in his column for the Sunday Mirror.
“English football is one-dimensional and there is a blind reluctance to accept that we simply have no world-class players – just average workhorses who have been consistently over-hyped in the Premier League, which is totally dominated by excellent foreigners and not by home-grown talent.
“How England can be so high in the FIFA rankings at six is beyond me, although Roy Hodgson did his very best with the resources he had. The ratings get updated this week but at the moment beaten Portugal lie 10th and Italy are 12th.”
“It really hurts me to see the usual countries fighting it out in the semi-finals, with our plane having already touched down back in England.
“Last Sunday’s defeat against Italy only underlined the paucity of technical ability in our game and a complete and radical overhaul of the youth system has to be undertaken.
“Having the new FA set-up at Burton is all well and good, but it’s like putting the rejects from the X-Factor on the stage at Stratford-upon-Avon.”