Former England captain Terry Butcher is concerned about how Roy Hodgson’s side will fare at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, if they qualify.
Butcher – who played for England at three World Cups and made 77 appearances for his country – does believe they will make their way out of a tricky group and qualify for next year’s event in Brazil.
But achieving any success beyond that is unlikely according to the former defender, who believes the fact that many of England’s players are not first-team regulars for their clubs is hurting the team.
“Despite England’s gritty draw (a 2-2 stalemate against Brazil) in the Maracana last Sunday, I worry about my country’s future at the top level of international football,” Butcher wrote in his column in The Sunday Mirror.
“Even with a full complement of stars, Roy Hodgson’s side will struggle to reach the final four at next year’s World Cup, providing we manage to qualify in the first place.
“I believe England will overcome Montenegro, Poland and Ukraine en route to Brazil, but the fact Hodgson’s men have made such hard work of winning matches in Group H does not bode well for next summer’s tournament.
“Of the starting XI seven days ago, there were at least four players who do not play regularly for their club.
“In my day, I would not have been confident going into an England team having being out of my club side for any period of time, and I would also have hated not being on the pitch for 90 minutes, friendly or not.”
England sit second in Group H with 12 points from six matches, although the third-placed Ukraine are snapping at their heels, just one point behind in third.
With only one side automatically qualifying for the World Cup, Montenegro top the group with 14 points from seven matches.