New players? New tactics? An impossible task? How can England become a major player in the international football again?
Here is how the papers have tried to make sense of England exit and how they should go forward from here.
The Guardian: Hodgson and the FA cannot harbour realistic ambitions in this guise
Daniel Taylor: England cannot harbour any realistic ambition in their current guise. The passing is one thing but the devotion to the tired, outmoded 4-4-2 is a serious issue and was, as predicted, brutally exposed as soon as England came up against a decent side. The problem essentially, though, is an old one and it is that England do not have enough players who consider giving away the ball as a sin. Paul Scholes, the nearest England have to Pirlo, retired from international football eight years ago. Michael Carrick is probably second in line, albeit a fair way further back and he too jacked it in. Other nations would build their entire team around these players; England left them deciding they did not want anything more to do with it. It leaves the great unanswerable question about how long before this team can be considered realistic challengers in major tournaments. Ten years?
Daily Telegraph: An outdated formation and players wrung dry, it's the same old story
Alan Hansen: You can have two-point plans, five-point plans or 40-point plans, but the reality is that England simply do not have the players to succeed at this level. The same old problems are the ones that need addressing, but nothing ever happens. Once again, the players are tired after a tough domestic season and there will be calls for a winter break, but will that ever really be introduced when the Premier League is as successful as it is? On the pitch, England have fallen short again when faced with technically superior opponents, but the team are still playing 4-4-2, which is an obsolete system. And when we talk of unearthing the next generation and giving them the chance to take the team forward, who are those players?
The Times: Hodgson seeks method in the madness
Oliver Kay: The FA has embarked belatedly on an overhaul of how the game is played and coached in this country. Last month, finally, it passed through changes that will see youngsters playing in smaller-sided matches, with smaller pitches and goals, and with more emphasis on technique from an early age. The idea is that it develops a possession-based philosophy that focuses on “playing through the three thirds of the pitch”, as Sir Trevor Brooking, the FA’s director of football, puts it, and replaces the more frenzied style for which English football is known. Hodgson has impressed in many ways since starting work as England manager just six weeks ago…— but if one thing nagged throughout, it was that the playing style was conservative at best, regressive at worst. What England have to do as they look to move forward (is)…retaining and reinforcing stereotypical Anglo-Saxon values (that) worked reasonably well at this tournament, producing some defiant defensive performances, but there has to be a more cohesive approach to what they do with the ball, starting with the forthcoming World Cup qualifying campaign.
The Sun: If you want a revolution Roy, then kick out Gerrard, Parker, Cole, JT & Lamps straight away…
Rob Beasley: Roy Hodgson and England do not have a cat in hell’s chance of winning the 2014 World Cup in Brazil…So why worry about it? Why stress ourselves silly saying, ‘Roy has only got two years to put this mess right?’ In fact, let’s just forget it. Why not concentrate on putting in place a four-year plan to get us ready for Euro 2016 in France instead? If it all goes the way of the pear and we fail to qualify then, yes, it would be bad news - very bad news. A huge blow to our international reputation and ranking, a shocking indictment of the way we coach our youngsters and proof that a Premier League full of foreigners is destroying our hopes and dreams. But that is a worst case scenario. And the fall-back position is that we were not going to win it anyway…Sure, there is life in the old dogs yet. But, sadly, there is no future in them.
Daily Express: England needs a pass master
Paul Joyce: England’s latest demise at a major tournament at least provides an opportunity for sensible debate, although the need to find answers to what remain fundamental concerns is no less pressing. As damning, if not more so, than the continued failure from 12 yards is the persistent inability to cherish possession. Jack Wilshere may have made a difference, although when fit and playing for Arsenal, he does not play in the 4-4-2 formation Hodgson favours, while Adam Johnson’s talent needs to be persevered with. Otherwise, it is hard to think of too many other players left behind for whatever reason who would have eked out an improvement.
Daily Star: Rooney: A decade wasted
Brian Woolnough: At the moment, we are a last-eight team. A country who can’t compete with the technique of the best, who can’t retain the ball under pressure. Rooney epitomised that on Sunday. Too often he allowed possession to slip, allowing himself to be crowded out, and he ran out of ideas. In the red shirt of United, he takes games by the scruff of the neck. In the white of England, he is a baby in comparison. Hodgson must be allowed to create his own side and style. Whether he gets the support of clubs is a different matter. In the space of six unbeaten matches, he has repaired the dressing room and gained the respect of the players. The fans have faith in him too. He talks of getting younger -players like Tom Cleverley, Kyle Walker and Jack Wilshere back, although admits England will always need experience.
Daily Mail: You've got to change, Roy…
Matt Lawton: Hodgson has a vision that includes players such as Jack Wilshere and Kyle Walker, Gary Cahill and Chris Smalling. Not to mention more attacking flair in the form of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott. By the summer of 2014 he also has to deliver a team more capable of dealing with the strongest nations in the competition. That is Hodgson’s task moving on from Euro 2012; the task by which he will ultimately be measured as an England manager. The contest with Italy exposed some all too familiar deficiencies in the England side. Not least an alarming inability to retain possession and pass the ball in a manner the Italians made look easy. We did not need the pages of statistics UEFA produced afterwards to tell us that, even if the fact that Joe Hart completed more passes than any team-mate told its own story.
The Independent: Our culture was once the envy of the world – now it's in ruins
James Lawton: Where do we start – again – on the latest breakdown in England's ability to compete seriously against grown-up football nations? As always there is a dismaying range of options…yet wherever we go we come back to the same starting point. We just cannot cut it at the highest level. We cannot make great footballers and when they happen, in the fashion of Paul Gascoigne or Rooney, we are clueless about the right kind of competitive discipline to impose.
Daily Mirror: Don't blame Hodgson, the truth is England made Italy look good
Kenny Dalglish: Perhaps England need to trust their players more, have a go more. Italy aren’t that much better than them, but it didn’t look that way in Kiev. Rooney did not have his best game, but it’s worth pointing out that he is not used to playing in a side that gives up more than 60 per cent of possession. The team he plays for in the Premier League is usually on the right end of those kinds of statistics.