We shouldn't be surprised at what happened to England on Monday night. It's been clear for a long time that we're nothing like as good at football as we think we are.
Roy Hodgson kept on talking about how the goals would come, how we'd score three or four goals in a match any day now. But that was only ever hope.
Yes, England's players put in good performances against Slovakia and Russia – but they never created more than half-chances.
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Sure, there was possession – but always without penetration and progression. Compare that to what we've seen from Italy or Germany. The Germans took on that same Slovakia team and cut them to shreds, moving quickly, creating pressure.
England? We were slow and bland. On Monday, we had a midfield staffed by two labourers – Wayne Rooney and Eric Dier – who didn't show an ounce of guile between them. Adam Lallana was left out, despite looking the most creative player in the team in the first few games. Sterling was included for his pace, but showed absolutely nothing else.

Saevarsson Sterling - England-Iceland - Euro 2016 - LaPresse

Image credit: Eurosport

The defence was no better. This was the first time it was properly tested in the tournament, and it was found wanting.
People were praising Kyle Walker as one of the best full-backs in the competition after the group stage, but while he was good going forwards, he showed that he doesn't have the defensive skills or concentration to survive international football.
It's not as if England didn't have chances, either. In my entire life, I don't think I've seen a team at international level turn over possession as much as Iceland do – they constantly give the ball away, and their defending is all ramshackle, last-ditch stuff. It didn't matter, though; they didn't need to keep the ball out of the final third in the way that a team like Italy do because they were up against England.
To be fair to them, they realised pretty quickly that England were no good, and then they started to run at them more and more. They won't do that when they play France, believe me: they'll keep it tight, just as they did in the group stage.

England v Iceland - EURO 2016 - Round of 16

Image credit: Reuters

So what on earth does it say about us if Iceland felt free to run riot?
The players' performances were abysmal, but a lot of the blame really does have to lie with Roy Hodgson. I said after England got knocked out of the World Cup two years ago that he ought to fall on his sword; if only he had. We wouldn't have been any closer to winning Euro 2016, but we might be a couple of years closer to building an outfit that might one day have a chance.
Great managers can inspire you with their very presence. Some shout and scream like a Diego Simeone; others just need to give you a glance. I'll always remember looking over at Sir Bobby Robson when I was playing for England, and feeling awful if I'd let him down.
His decisions were appalling at times. His substitutions were totally appalling throughout – on Monday, Dier was playing okay but Rooney was having a bad day, yet it was Dier who got hooked at half-time. That's despite the fact that if Dier had been on the pitch he could have moved back into a defensive role and allowed Hodgson to remove one of the centre-halves and bring on another forward when things were getting desperate.

Eric Dier

Image credit: PA Photos

There was also another big problem in Hodgson's approach: his ludicrous decision to rest a load of players in the final group stage match. This is something that drives me absolutely mad: there are guys out there digging up roads every day from six in the morning til six at night, and you're trying to tell me that a professional footballer isn't capable of playing two 90-minute football matches five or six days apart?
I've a little sympathy for Hodgson in that this is one of those things that modern coaches feel they need to do. But what about Gary Neville standing alongside him? This is a man who knows everything there is to know about the importance of momentum, and the winning mentality; he must have known that keeping the same team together would have helped England no end. So why didn't he press the case with Roy?
Then there's the role of Hodgson's captain: Wayne Rooney.
He might have tried to reinvent himself as a midfielder, but Rooney simply isn't a midfielder. Not an international-class one, anyway.
He said last week that he'd learnt the craft from Paul Scholes – all I can say about that is that Rooney must have had his eyes closed whenever he was watching his former team-mate.

England's Wayne Rooney looks dejected at the end of the game v Iceland

Image credit: Reuters

Against Russia, a team who decided to give him all the time he wanted, he hit a few nice passes. Against Iceland, who closed him down every time he got the ball, he panicked under pressure. His feet simply aren't quick enough, and his passing simply isn't good enough to play in that role.
Let's not be too harsh on Rooney – it's a difficult job to do, one even David Beckham was never able to manage. But at least Beckham could pick a pass; Rooney can't as soon as he's under pressure. I've a lot of sympathy for the likes of Dele Alli standing around him, wondering why on earth they're struggling along with a makeshift centre midfielder who was out of his depth at this level. The simple fact of the matter is that Rooney is no good unless he's up front – and he's not been any good up front either for a while now.
But there's one more thing that has to be addressed – and it’s the thing that will have fans up and down the country absolutely furious about what happened to England at these finals. Because it wasn’t the fact that we lost at Euro 2016; it was the manner in which we lost.
As a nation, we always used to have one thing going for us: grit. Willingness to get stuck in. To play hard, right to the end, and fight for it – playing to our strengths, avoiding our weaknesses, doing whatever it took. Wales, Northern Ireland and Ireland have all battled hard during Euro 2016.

Wales' players celebrate after an own goal by Northern Ireland's defender Gareth McAuley

Image credit: AFP

England have lost it completely. And it's humiliating. The days when teams used to dig in and throw everything at their opponents seem to have gone; instead, we've got a team full of individuals, many of whom don't seem to care one way or the other about playing for their country.
Look at the Spain team, you'll see how much it means to them. Even look at Gareth Bale: good as he is for Real Madrid, he becomes a different man when he pulls on a Wales shirt, lifting his game. England just don't have that. Instead we had a group of players who seemed intent on trying fancy tricks or 45-yard miracle passes that will only come off one in a thousand times, or trying flicks and dribbles to beat men when a straightforward pass, well-conceived and well-executed, would have been far better.
What's the answer? Who should take over? I wish I knew, I really do.

FOOTBALL 1990 World Cup England-Germany Paul Parker

Image credit: Imago

Gary Neville? His failure at Valencia rules him out. Eddie Howe? He doesn't have enough experience yet. Brendan Rodgers? I don't even know why he's been mentioned. Foreign coaches have been tried, and failed. And the only thing going for Gareth Southgate is that he knows his way round the corridors at the FA.
Whoever comes in, they need two things.
First, they need the patience to let young players develop at U18 and U21 level, instead of fast-tracking them when they're still teenagers and hoping for the best. You can't just shove a Porsche engine in a Ford Fiesta and hope for the best.
Second, they need the guts to make the big decisions. If Rooney can't cut it as a striker any more, then he must be dropped – not redeployed in a position that he can't do. If Ross Barkley or someone else is the man to take the mantle in central midfield – and right now he looks the best candidate – then put him in the team now and give him the time he needs to flourish.
And finally, they need presence. The sort of presence Sir Bobby Robson had when he talked to us at half-time of the 1990 World Cup quarter-final against Cameroon when we were trailing 2-1. The sort of presence that Conte has on the touchlines now with Italy. But not the sort of presence you get from a guy who looks like he is waiting patiently in the queue at the Post Office.
Paul Parker
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