Former Wales international midfielder Robbie Savage has claimed that there is not a single world-class player in the England squad.
The 39-year-old made his comments while looking ahead to Friday’s World Cup Group D clash between Italy and Costa Rica.
England have lost both their games in Brazil and are on the brink of elimination from the tournament.
The Three Lions kicked off their 2014 World Cup campaign with a 2-1 defeat to Italy in Manaus last week. However, Roy Hodgson’s side’s performance was encouraging and was widely praised.
On Thursday, though, England looked a shadow of their former selves and slumped to a 2-1 defeat to Uruguay in Sao Paulo, thanks to a late mistake that allowed Liverpool striker Luis Suarez to complete his brace.
If Italy win against Costa Rica today, then England will crash out, signalling the end of their ‘Golden Generation’.
Savage, who now works as a football pundit for the BBC, believes that the tournament in Brazil has exposed that none of the players in the current 23-man England squad can be termed as ‘world class’.
The former Leicester City and Derby County midfielder also claimed that both Wayne Rooney of Manchester United and Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard are past their best.
‘I would say no’, he told the BBC when asked if England have no world-class players. ‘I would say that in their prime, Rooney, Gerrard were world class. But on the evidence on this competition and how other players from other nations have grown, I would say England no longer have any world-class players’.
Rooney did score his first World Cup goal against Uruguay on Thursday and also created the goal for Daniel Sturridge against Italy, but the 28-year-old has failed to really step up his game in Brazil.
Although there was no lack of energy or commitment from Gerrard against the South Americans, it was his mistake that cost England a point against Uruguay and at 34, this is probably going to be his final World Cup.
However, England can still emerge from their World Cup disappointment with some positives. The likes of Sturridge, Raheem Sterling, Jack Wilshere, Ross Barkley and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are players who could fulfil their potential in the coming years and make the 1966 World Cup winners a force in international football again.