Stuart Pearce has called for players to be denied call-ups to the senior England squad until they reach an age when they can no longer be considered for under-21 duty.
Pearce, who lost his job as manager of England's Under-21s following a woeful display at the European Championships earlier this year, believes the entire national team set-up is being undermined by the temptation to fast-track promising young players.
The 51-year-old claims the likes of Phil Jones, Jack Wilshere, Danny Welbeck and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had "gone beyond" the sphere of the under-21 set-up after establishing themselves with the senior side.
According to Pearce, the absence of those players - and others such as Kyle Walker - contributed to the under-21 side's tribulations in Israel in June, when they crashed out in the group stage after losing all three games to Italy, Norway and Israel.
And the former full-back believes drastic action is required to ensure England's young stars are given a better chance of tasting success at tournament level as they progress through the age ranges.
"It's a big call, make no mistake, but why don't we leave all the players in their age-appropriate band and see how that works," Pearce told BT Sport.
"People will say you can't do that, players need to be upgrading, but the Spanish didn't all of a sudden win things at senior level - they were the champions at Under-17, Under-19s, Under-21s.
"Those players learned to win together, and they step on the big stage and they win World Cups.
"We're in an organisation [the FA] that hasn't won anything at senior level for 50 years, now whatever we do we won't lose the trophy cabinet because it's not there at the moment, and it isn't there at any age group either.
"If you don't take your best players to major tournaments, you've got no chance of competing against the best."