Gary Lineker says England’s players did not know what they were supposed to do for much of Euro 2016 as he gave a damning verdict on Roy Hodgson’s management.
Hodgson resigned immediately after his side crashed out of the tournament with a shock 2-1 last-16 defeat to Iceland in Nice on Monday.
Lineker, who scored 48 international goals in an eight-year England career, thinks the departing manager’s poor planning is to blame for another failure at a major tournament.
“They need to know on the pitch exactly what their jobs are, what they are supposed to do in certain circumstances and I’m not sure that was the case,” Lineker told BBC Radio 5 Live.
“It is like an actor. An actor can be as good as he likes but he still needs a really good director.
“I’m sure once it started to go wrong and they got behind, you could sense nobody seemed to know what to do. There was no real game plan, no plan B.
“Italy went out there [against Spain] and they had a real game plan. You could see the coach [Antonio Conte] on the sidelines orchestrating everything – they played a pressing game for a while, then they sat for a while.
“You could see that every single player on that pitch knew exactly what his job was at any given time and the positions they should be in. The organisation and the game plan was obvious and it worked.”
He added: “You could not really see that with England. There were plans and then there were changes.
“Roy is traditionally a 4-4-2 guy, he has been all of his career. He has kind of changed and, understandably at times, tried different things.
“We didn’t really have the players to change the system. We have not got any wingers – we have only got Raheem Sterling, who is bang out of form and confidence. He didn’t give himself those alternatives by picking five or six central strikers.”
Lineker also rejected the argument that there is too much pressure on England players, stressing the likes of Spain, Germany and Italy also face expectation going into the big competitions.
He continued: “There is a degree of a lack of mental strength which maybe comes from a lack of success in recent tournaments and the pressure that comes on the England team.
“But don’t you think for one minute that there is more pressure on the England team than there is on the Spanish team, the German team, the Italian team.
“The expectancy in those countries is higher than it is in our country. We tend to be quite realistic because we are quite used to failure.”