Frank Lampard fears for England's future because young players are struggling for first-team opportunities in the Premier League.
The Manchester City midfielder, who won 106 caps for England before retiring this summer, believes it is very different for English prospects today because of the steady influx of top European talent into the Premier League.
"I made my West Ham debut at 17 and was a regular a year later," he said. "If I was the same age now I wouldn't be anywhere near the Chelsea or Manchester City sides. Like the other kids I'd have had to go out on loan."
The 36-year-old, who is Chelsea's all-time leading goalscorer after spending 13 years at Stamford Bridge, acknowledged that coaching facilities are better than ever but there comes a time when players just need games.
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"If it was my boy I'd think about sending him to Chelsea to have the best coaching from eight to 15 and, if possible, then send him to a club with less resources to try and get him in the first team at 18," he added.
"Rio Ferdinand and I were fortunate we experienced it at a young age. But the kids these days get lost.
"There's a stagnant patch where we hear of these good players of 15 and 16 and wonder where they are at 21."
Lampard highlighted Jose McEachran as an example after he was forced out on loan having been widely tipped for big things at Chelsea.
"He had his moments but I still think he got a bit downbeat about it," Lampard said.
"From being talked up he was always having to go out on loan - and where do you go from there? if the door's shut, it can stay shut.
"Then there's the fact these young lads have to focus and keep their heads when they start to earn very good money.
"They have to realise they haven't made it just because everyone is talking about them at 18."