Graeme Souness has singled out midfield duo Dele Alli and Jesse Lingard as an example of why England are returning from the World Cup empty-handed.
The Three Lions' Russian adventure ended on Wednesday with a 2-1 semi-final defeat to Croatia, although they will stay in the country for the third-place play-off on Saturday.
An early strike from Kieran Trippier was cancelled out by Ivan Perisic, before Mario Mandzukic struck in extra time to send his nation to the final.
England gained high praise for their first trip to the last-four since 1990, but ex-Liverpool star Souness is not among their admirers.
"I want to emphasise the midfield," Souness explained to beIn Sport after the game.
"You can't win the big trophies, you can't dominate football matches, you can't put yourself in a position where you are not giving the ball away unless you've got good players in midfield who can keep the ball.
"I come back to Lingard and Dele Alli - two players who want to get on the end of things after there has been clever play by somebody else.
"They don't want to get involved in keeping the ball and dominating possession. They want to be involved in scoring the goals and getting on the end of things."
Souness continued by suggesting that Gareth Southgate's charges were rather fortunate to make it as far as the semi-final.
"When they come up against a decent team, I think it's inevitable that they were going to struggle tonight," he added.
"Let me explain. They played the worst team in the tournament in Panama. They played, along with Saudi Arabia, probably the second worst team in the tournament, Tunisia. Put a line through the Belgium game, that doesn't count.
"Then they play Colombia and in the second half, Colombia were much better than them. England came back in extra-time but only after a Colombia player hit the crossbar. They get through on penalties.
"Then they play a team in Sweden who were in awe of England. Both played a similar sort of game; long ball and feed off the bits.
"Tonight is the first time, other than the Belgium game, that they have come up against a team who wants to pop it around and keep possession - and they really, really were shown up for being a back-to-front team playing very basic football."