Dion Dublin today insisted England should be “embarrassed” for falling so far behind their international rivals.
But the former Three Lions and Villa striker reckons the country has finally woken up to their biggest problems.
England are 10th in the world rankings, after slipping to as low as 17th, and missed out on a top seeding spot at next year’s World Cup.
Dublin is a Football Foundation ambassador with the organisation focusing on progress and improvement at grass roots level.
And the 44-year-old believes the guilt of international failure has jolted the country into action.
He said: “If we can keep producing the quality quicker then we’ll be OK but we’re years behind. We should be a little bit embarrassed of how far behind we are.
“That embarrassment has kicked in now and that’s why there has been so much emphasis put on grass roots by the Football Foundation and other organisations. They have realised they are so far behind and they are now trying to put it right.”