Fabio Capello must take responsibility for the underachievement of the English national team at the 2010 World Cup, whilst the nation as a whole must redefine its approach to player development, says Blackburn Rovers manager Sam Allardyce.
Speaking from Sydney, where Rovers are taking part in a pre-season friendly tournament with Sydney FC, AEK Athens and Rangers, the 55-year-old said the struggles of the Three Lions in recent times stem from a failure to blood young players in the English Premier League.
“It’s been ignored for the last 10-15 years or so - not by football clubs - but by the country as a whole: by the government, by the education system and that has caused a dearth of young players being developed who are good enough to play in the Premier League,” Allardyce told Goal.com UK.
“If you put the other side of it together – the Premier League being the best league in the world – the most talented players in the world want to play in the Premier League and young players are finding it difficult to break into football teams.
“Until we put the early development of young players in the right order we’ll struggle to find as good players in the England squad next time around when they retire.”
It is a not unfamiliar topic of debate, with a new foreign player quota being thrust upon Premier League clubs this season in an attempt to encourage the promotion of local talent.
Clubs will be required to name eight “home grown” players in their squads, meaning players who have had a minimum of three full seasons with a registered club in England or Wales before their 21st birthdays.
Despite the presence of relatively youthful English talent in the Premier League, including the likes of Aston Villa's Gabriel Agbonlahor and Ashley Young (both of whom failed to make the cut for South Africa), Allardyce says there will be a void created in the national team when the current generation of senior stars retire.
“Even Wayne Rooney is 24, so it’s the next generation we’re looking at that looks very limited indeed.
“It’s great having the best league in the world, no doubt about that, but the downside of that is the national team will suffer.”
Whilst Allardyce acknowledged the link between developmental issues and the national team, he also criticised the tactics of Fabio Capello in South Africa.
“I don’t know what went wrong this time around and as a coach you have to take the responsibility for that,” Allardyce said.
“I don’t quite know why Fabio Capello played like he did because that’s not the English way: nobody plays two up front anymore.
“If you’re talking about English football very few teams play 4-4-2 now: it’s either 4-4-1-1, 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1, they are the three major systems played throughout the Premier League.”
On the wane | Sam says Capello's preferred formation with two strikers cost England
However, the former Bolton Wanderers and Newcastle United manager pointed to Frank Lampard’s controversial effort against Germany as an example of the fine margins that have so often denied England success on the international stage in recent years.
“It hasn’t been as bad as everybody’s making out and of course one has to accept that we don’t seem to be able to handle the media pressure that well when we go to a World Cup or international tournament.
“We seem to manage it pretty well week-in, week-out in the Premier League but when it comes to an international tournament, the pressure builds up.
“We even saw one or two cracks in Fabio Capello’s armour – a great man and a great coach – when he came under pressure at the World Cup.”