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Ferdinand: England needs a 10-year plan

The Red Devils center back says he would rather the Three Lions miss out on the 2014 World Cup if it means the national side can begin to forge a real footballing identity

Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand would sacrifice England's qualification for the 2014 World Cup for long-term development.

The former Three Lions international fears for the future of the national side at every level and even believes that manager Roy Hodgson may not guide the senior team to Brazil next summer.

The 34-year-old Red Devil insists a long-term plan must be implemented to give the team an identity.

"It’s going to take someone with big balls to come and grab England by the scruff of the neck and say, 'this is what we are going to do and it might take 10 years to do it'," he told the Daily Mail.

"We might not qualify for the World Cup or European Championship, but I would rather not qualify for one or two tournaments knowing, in 10 years’ time, we will have an identity we can be proud of.

"I don’t see the connection between the senior team and the Under-21s, or the Under-17s, or the Under-20s, and that doesn’t bode well for the England team."

The former Leeds and West Ham defender sees the introduction of St. George's Park as a step in the right direction towards the likes of Spain, Germany and Holland.

"There is a new system being put in place and St. George’s Park is part of that. We started to see something when Glenn Hoddle was in charge, a bit of an identity with free-flowing football," he continued. "Since then I don’t think we have had a real identity. If all the names were taken off the back of the shirts and the colors were changed, you couldn’t tell an England team.

"You look at an Italian team, a Dutch team, a Spanish team, a German team or a Brazilian team, without seeing the names on the shirts you would identify them because they’re working from a script.

"You could put an Under-16 lad into the senior Spanish team or Italian team, he might not have the attributes in terms of physique and speed to be able to deal with it, but positionally I’m sure he’d know what to do because they’re taught that, day-in, day-out."

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