Rio Ferdinand claims England must forge a national identity to be successful even if it means missing out on a major tournament

Former international defender says missing a World Cup or European Championship might be need if England are to catch their rivals in having a style of play throughout all age groups

Rio Ferdinand has claimed England must develop their own identity if they are to flourish at international level, even if it means missing out on major tournaments to achieve long-term success.

Speaking in The Guardian today, Ferdinand said: “What is our identity?

"We started to see something when (former manager) Glenn Hoddle was in charge, a bit of an identity then, free-flowing football, and you would say we were starting to get an idea of the pattern of what he wanted to implement in the team.

"Since then I don't think we've actually really seen an identity, where you could say: 'That's an England team,' where you look at the under-21s and go: 'That's an England team.'"

England suffered a dismal summer on the international stage, with the senior team’s draws against Brazil and the Republic of Ireland proving to be the highlights, as the Under-21s and Under-20s failed to win a single game at their respective competitions, while England’s women earned just one point at the European Championships.

Roy Hodgson’s senior side still need to qualify for next year’s World Cup in Brazil, sitting two points behind qualification group leaders Montenegro with a game in hand.

Ferdinand believes that the country needs a style of play that translates through the different age groups, with a clear way of playing being supported by the Football Association’s director of elite development Dan Ashworth.

The FA invested in the new St George’s Park in Burton to provide a centre for English football, as well as preparing the England side before international fixtures along with coaching and developmental work.

Ferdinand believes that England have fallen behind their international rivals in forging a national identity in the way they play, believing that a younger player could come straight into the senior side and already have the knowledge of how he is expected to play.

"If all the names were taken off the back of the shirts and the colours were changed, you couldn't go in there and say, 'That's an England team, that's our identity, that's the way we play.' And that's from the under-16s right up to the senior team," added Ferdinand, who won 81 senior caps.

"Whereas you look at an Italian team, a Dutch team, a Spanish team, a German team or a Brazilian team, without seeing the names on the shirts, you would identify them because they're working from a script.

"You could put an under-16 lad into the senior Spanish team or Italian team, he might not have the attributes in terms of physique and speed to be able to deal with it but positionally I'm sure he'd know what to do because that's what they're taught, day in, day out."

Hodgson will take the senior side’s training today before heading to Sheffield to take charge of the Under-21 side against their Scottish counterparts, as the search goes on for Stuart Pearce’s replacement after the FA chose not to extend his contract following the poor showing at the European Championship earlier this summer.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Living for the moment: Julianne Moore playing Alzheimer’s sufferer Alice
health
News
Jay Z
businessJay-Z's bid for Spotify rival could be blocked
News
The spider makes its break for freedom
VIDEO
Voices
A propaganda video shows Isis forces near Tikrit
voicesAdam Walker: The Koran has violent passages, but it also has others that explicitly tells us how to interpret them
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle v United player ratings
Arts and Entertainment
books
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot