Harry Redknapp has questioned the commitment of young English players to the national team cause, claiming there were certain individuals during his time at Tottenham who tried to find ways of skipping international duty.
The QPR boss described the Italy and Uruguay teams who had knocked England out of the World Cup as "average" and claimed England had more talent at their disposal than any other team in Group D. England will fly home after playing Costa Rica in their final group game on Tuesday.
Redknapp - once a strong contender for the England job only to see Roy Hodgson picked ahead of him in 2012 - said he had been unimpressed by their opponents and could not understand how England had failed to deliver.
He highlighted his experiences of managing England players while at Tottenham and recalled how some were very reluctant to represent their country.
"I still think we go to tournaments, whether it be under-17s, under-19s, under-21s, there are too many pull-outs, it seems to be everyone has got an excuse, and I can tell you when I was at Tottenham, when full internationals came around, there were two or three players who did not want to play for England," he told BBC Radio Five Live's Sportsweek programme.
"They would come to me 10 days before the game and say, 'Gaffer, get me out of that game, I don't want to play in that game'. That was how it was. I'd say, 'You're playing for your country, you should want to play'.
"(They would say) 'Nah, my girlfriend is having a baby in four weeks, I don't want to play' and that is the truth, so it makes you wonder.
"And I think it's only going to get worse. You see the stick the England players get and they come home, they're earning fantastic money at their clubs, they're all playing in the Champions League. They think, 'Do we need the aggro?'"
Matthew Le Tissier, who won only eight England caps in his career, said Redknapp's revelation "sticks a knife through your heart".
But Redknapp, who gave his backing to Hodgson, could offer no other explanation for England's failure to reach the knock-out stages as he described Italy and Uruguay as "average", with Group D "not a difficult group".
"For Costa Rica to top the group by beating Italy and Uruguay, that tells you all you need to know about the group," he added.
"For me it's the worst Italy team for years. Uruguay have two world-class strikers but then not too many players you'd fancy in the Premier League, let alone playing for your country.
"We've got good players, players who are good week-in, week-out in the Premier League. You look at half the other teams in the tournament and there are loads of players who come to the Premier League and couldn't get a game. You know we've got better players than them but for some reason with good manager after good manager, we just don't get results."
Asked about Football Association chairman Greg Dyke's target of winning the 2022 World Cup, Redknapp was dismissive.
"Good luck," he said. "Are we kidding? How are we going to go to Doha and win a World Cup in heat we'll struggle just to run around in? Not a prayer."