Former England defender Rio Ferdinand has reiterated his concerns for the future of the national team after Stuart Pearce's Under-21 side went out of the European Championship.
Manchester United's Ferdinand spoke out after the senior side's draw with the Republic of Ireland last week, debating the coaching strategies that are in place at under-age levels. Ferdinand, who retired from the Three Lions earlier this year, went on to question his own 'golden generation' of players, and on Saturday night sought more answers.
After Pearce's men were humbled 3-1 by Norway in Israel, Ferdinand, responding to a Tweet which referenced Pearce's claim that he needed to be able to field his strongest side, said: "(sic) It starts way down the chain. For me u should b able to pluck an u18s player out n put him into the 1st team n not have to school him tactically, just school on opposition."
He added: "Would not happen now at all for us, in contrast if Spain or Germany threw a u18 in he would know his role as these countries have an identity."
The Under-21 players arrived in Israel with high hopes, especially considering the seasons the likes of Tom Ince and Wilfried Zaha have had.
Ferdinand did acknowledge the talent at Pearce's disposal, but voiced his concern that the players were not being exposed to good enough opposition.
"We have some real talented u21 players too," said the 81-cap international.
"A lot of other coaches are getting players who already understand the system to play in so start ahead b4 a ball is kicked!"
A Twitter user replied to Ferdinand questioning the standard of Pearce's squad, to which the former West Ham man said: "We do, trust me. We have talent in that squad, are they being exposed at top level?"