Peter Beardsley puts England's failure at the European Under-21 Championships down to the fact their best players are not involved.
The former Newcastle striker, who is now working with the clubs youth set-up, admits the problem always arises when there is a big tournament at this level.
The likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Danny Welbeck, Phil Jones, Raheem Sterling and Jack Rodwell all played in the qualifiers, but were not taken to Israel.
And Beardsley, who won 59 caps for England, believes it is time the best players are included for a major tournament at Under-21 level.
"It seems to happen every time a tournament comes round," he told Sky Sports News HD. "It's something we need to try and put right and hopefully the sooner the better.
"I think you have to play your best players. When you look at Spain they've got all their best players in, the Germans have got theirs and the Dutch have got theirs.
"It shows you have to pick your best players - and that for me is the only answer."
Beardsley refused to blame the clubs or Stuart Pearce for England losing two games out of two in Israel.
They play the hosts in their final game and already their is speculation surrounding the England Under-21 manager's job.
But Phil Brown, the Southend United manager, believes Pearce did all he could with the players available.
"Where Stuart's concerned I've got some empathy with him because I think he's slightly been hung out to dry," he said.
"You've got problems when you haven't got 10 or 11 players that he could have had. OK, they went away with the seniors, but when you're talking about a friendly in Brazil or an Under-21 tournament then surely he should have been given the best opportunity.
"I agree with Peter. Pearce didn't have his best players available.
"We can bemoan the fact that we are out of the competition and playing for the wooden spoon but the bottom line is the manager - and any manager - needs his best players available."