Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand believes that the motivation of the England players should not be questioned despite the ignominious manner of their exit from the World Cup.
Fabio Capello's side were torn apart by Germany in Bloemfontein on Sunday, losing 4-1 in an abject display.
Questions have been asked about the players' motivation and ability to handle expectation, but Ferdinand - who would have captained the Three Lions in South Africa had injury not ruled him out of the tournament - believes that slighting the squad's commitment would be wrong.
"I don't think that's ever a question when you put on an England shirt," he told The Sun.
"I'm sure the lads will be hurting now but they'll be honest enough to say, especially with that first goal, that they're disappointed with conceding it.
"With chances created, Germany were probably the better team. They kept the ball better, passed the ball better and they scored four goals.
I'm as disappointed as anyone else that the lads haven't been able to progress. I hope the fans know it's not a lack of desire and effort."
Ferdinand also felt that the linesman who disallowed Frank Lampard's first-half strike with the score at 2-1 to Germany was at fault for the defeat.
"If Lamps' goal had stood it would have been 2-2 and then the game would've turned on its head. We'd have been at full throttle. I'm sure we'd have gone on to win it," he added.
"I was sitting here with my mates and we were all screaming at the TV along with everyone else in the pubs going bananas. I'm a professional footballer but I'm also a fan so I know what it's like.
"Your emotions get a grip of you and you think, 'How's he not seen it?'
"It wasn't like a counter-attack or something, he was up there with the run of play. He has to be able to see that."
Ferdinand also clearly thinks that the time has come to consider the introduction of video technology into football to help referees.
"I've always been an advocate of keeping the game as natural as possible. But it could have defined our tournament if that goal had been given," he said.
"All the other sports have got it - cricket, rugby, the NBA and the NFL. I can't see it being too long before we get it."
However, the United man could also feel empathy with the pain being felt by the national team's supporters now.
"I understand fans' anger," he conceded.
"People pay good money to go and watch football. If people are angry you can't knock that. They pay their hard-earned money to watch us all over the world so that's part and parcel of it.
"When you look at the names on our team-sheet, you'd have to say that not getting to the latter stages of the tournament that you've under-achieved.
"With the players that we have got, you have got to be disappointed.
"We went into this tournament feeling 100 per cent capable of winning it. So to go out at this stage, regardless of who you're playing, is disappointing.
"To look at it as an under-achievement, given the players we've got to choose from, is a fair point."
Many have suspected that Wayne Rooney's fitness was not as sharp as it should have been going into the tournament, but his Manchester United team-mate insists that that was not the case.
"As far as I'm concerned Wayne is one of the best strikers in the world.
"There's no one more disappointed than me that we've gone out and Wayne hasn't been able to show the world the Wayne Rooney that everybody knows.
"He's shown glimpses but he's such a professional himself that he will be willing the next tournament to come round so he can go out and show everybody what he's about," he added.
"When I was there he was training every day and the lads I've spoken to say he's been fine and there's been no problems."
Manager Fabio Capello is due to speak to a press conference on Monday where his future as national team manager will be clarified.
Ferdinand believes that it would be wrong to change manager at this stage.
"I believe he's the man to take us to being a successful team. His track record is nothing to be sniffed at. We've got the utmost respect for this manager," he asserted.
"I've enjoyed every moment being around this manager. The way he coaches to his professionalism, his experience - you can only learn from people like that.
"To go out at this stage is disappointing but we've got 2014 to look forward to now.
"I know it's a bit early but that's the way we've got to be and that's the way we've got to think. Hopefully this manager is thinking along those lines as well. I hope he is."