England in danger of slipping into oblivion, says new FA chairman Greg Dyke
Greg Dyke used his first speech as Football Association chairman to warn that drastic changes are needed to stop the England side sliding into oblivion.
Dyke, who took control of the FA in June, set England the target of winning the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
But he warned that will not be possible unless more English players are playing at the top level.
Dyke said: "England is already short of players who regularly turn out at the top level for their clubs and are qualified to play for England but the real problem is that, year by year, the position is getting worse.
"Twenty years ago 69 per cent of all the players starting matches in the Premier League were qualified to play for England.
"Ten years later that figure was down to 38 per cent. Last season, another 10 years on, the same figure was down to 32 per cent."
"But we already know the problem is going to get worse in the future."
Dyke insisted the main two targets laid out in his speech - reaching the semi-finals of the 2020 European Championship and winning the World Cup two years later - were not unrealistic.
The fact that the 2022 World Cup is currently scheduled to be played in the 50-degree heat of Qatar makes Dyke's hopes seem very optimistic, however.
To bring the glory days back, Dyke said English football must not repeat the failures of past post-mortems.
Dyke said English football had not learned the lessons from a Professional Footballers' Association report in 2007 which was entitled 'Meltdown'.
That report warned England had become a "finishing school for the rest of the world, at the expense of our own players".
Dyke said the situation was now worse for English talent.
"Since that report was produced in 2007 the problem has got worse, not better," he added.
"Perhaps no-one in football was listening, maybe they didn't care or, most likely of all, they didn't know what to do about it."