England is no longer a footballing nation

The Football Association has confirmed they will not be renewing Under-21 manager Stuart Pearce's contract when it expires. Photo credit: Martin Rickett/PA Wire
The Football Association has confirmed they will not be renewing Under-21 manager Stuart Pearce's contract when it expires. Photo credit: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

The recent capitulation of the England under-21 football team in the European championships and subsequent dismissal of manager Stuart Pearce saw the usual excuses trotted out in the wake of a failure by a national team.

For the defeats against Italy, Norway and Israel, the wrong players were picked.

Some players were injured.

A crucial refereeing decision went against us here and there.

That might be true, but when are we going to face up to the truth – that England as a footballing force are, and never have been, simply not good enough to compete at the highest levels and have no divine right to beat anyone at a game we gave to the world.

What – apart from a World Cup played on home soil 47 years ago – have we ever won?

There are some people who naively blame our lack of success on the number of foreign players who ply their trade in the Premier League.

But that excuse simply does not wash.

There were few, if any, foreign players playing in this country when England spectacularly failed to qualify for successive World Cups in 1974 and 1978, so it must come down to the standard of the players and the ability of coaches to get the best out of them.

And if the players are not good enough in the first place, then however much our rose-tinted national media might inflate their chances of success, there is little likelihood of them winning trophies.