Lineker believes technical deficiencies are behind England's failures on the international stage

The former England striker has stated that the game is as much about what the body can do as it is the mind, before putting England's penalty exit down to technical inferiority
Former England international Gary Lineker has stated his belief that the nation's penalty shoot-out exit to Italy at the quarter-final stage of Euro 2012 was as much about technique than anything else.

The national inquest into the root causes of England's exit is already underway, but a common theme so far has been the acknowledgement that at international level, you have to keep the ball for longer periods than England did at the tournament.

After losing on penalties to finalists Italy, Lineker believes that rather than using this as a tool to criticise, we should accept our technical deficiencies and learn from the experience.

"It does help practising penalties but you have to practise a lot: 20 or 30 a day," Lineker told The Guardian.

"The bigger issue is that English footballers are not necessarily as technically adept as other nations.

"The way children are taught football doesn't encourage skill; the focus is on other areas."

Lineker was famous during his eight-year England career, during which he scored 48 international goals, for being quick off the blocks and stated that pace is a crucial attribute for any player to have in the modern game.

He argues that speed of thought is an often overstated quality when asked if he would still be good enough to play professionally today, at the age of 51.

"I wouldn't get near the ball. I wouldn't get a kick. People have no idea how hard football is, absolutely no idea.

"It's all about pace. You can say, "Yeah, you've got speed of thought" – but you've got to have a little bit of a zip. And that's the one thing that goes.

"Have you ever watched these awful old-men charity games? I mean, it's for great causes and all that sort of stuff, but, oh, it's so pedestrian."