Rio Ferdinand concerned by England's lack of identity

The Manchester United defender, who retired from international football to concentrate on his club career, feels Roy Hodgson's side need to develop a style of their own
Rio Ferdinand has voiced his concern at the state of the England national team by declaring that Roy Hodgson's side do not have the style or personality needed to succeed.

The Manchester United defender retired from international football in May in order to focus on domestic affairs with the Old Trafford outfit and extend his playing career.

And now the 34-year-old has criticised England following the Young Lions' calamitous early exit from the European Under-21 Championship in Israel, and believes the national team lacks an identity.

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"If you watch Italy, Holland, Spain or Germany playing at youth level, you would know who they are without looking at their shirts," Ferdinand told reporters.

"There is an identity with those teams. They have a DNA of the way to play.

"We don't have that. When we won the World Cup in 1966, we didn't copy anyone else. We played the way England play.

"It was our style and our identity. Have we kept it? I don't think so.

"It is all right saying you have some of the best players in the world but you have to put them together and play within a system that works."

Though Ferdinand applauds the investment made in St George's Park, he is adamant England's next generation of players can only improve if they are coached to play possession football.

"It does seem there is a plan in place but it will take a few years to come through," he added.

"The question I would ask is 'are these coaches telling young kids to pass it to someone who already has a man marking them?'. Are they saying 'he has to learn how to deal with it'? I don't know if we are.

"You give it to a young Spanish, Dutch, Italian, German kid, he will keep that ball until there is someone to pass it to.

"He won't just kick it away and say 'you shouldn't have passed it to me'. That is the way they are brought up."