England boss Roy Hodgson believes his players must stay true to their roots if they are ever to be a success at international level.
Once again, England failed to progress beyond the quarter-final stage of a major tournament.
Whilst their last eight conquerors Italy and defending champions Spain prepare to do battle in the Euro 2012 final in Kiev on Sunday night, Hodgson is left to pick from the debris the positive aspects of his team's performances.
Although the majority of questioning has surrounded an obvious lack of technique given England had a minority of possession in every game, Hodgson does not view the situation in quite such bleak terms.
"We have to maintain that degree of pragmatism that we have always had in English football," he said.
"We also have to retain that fighting spirit and doggedness.
"We mustn't start throwing those qualities overboard just so you can come off the field and have someone say you've had more shots at goal.
"I don't want to emulate nations, no. I want England to be England.
"You can't say we are going to play like Spain because apart from anything, the Spanish grew up in different climatic conditions to us and have always had very different qualities.
"And let's not forget that for years and years Spain went to every major tournament and never achieved anything."
Hodgson's immediate aim is to reach the next World Cup in Brazil.
Before the visit Moldova for the first of 12 qualifying matches on September 7, they take on Italy in Bern, a game Hodgson has already said he will use to experiment.
One of the players who could be selected in Chelsea's Ryan Bertrand, who may have only made 15 appearances for the Blues but the last one was an impressive effort in last month's Champions League final victory over Bayern Munich.
"Bertrand did very well in the Champions League Final, so there are players out there," said Hodgson.
"There are players out there, I've no doubt about that.
"Jack Wilshere had an impact before he missed the whole of last season with injury. If he can reach that level he's got to be a player who's of interest to us.
"Adam Johnson is another who's quite interesting.
"Then there were talents like Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Danny Welbeck, who were with us at the Euros.
"They are not poor players technically. Hopefully in two years' time they will be even better."
Hodgson has a few weeks to think about it.
Clearly though, Steven Gerrard remains an integral part of those plans.
At 32, he was one of England's better players this month and relished the captaincy, which has been given to him as of right for the first time.
And, whilst he accepts he may need to be managed in order to fulfil his obligations to club and country, the Liverpool midfielder is keen to play his part.
"The easy decision for me would be to walk away from all of this and say I want to prolong my Liverpool career," he said.
"We can't hide the fact I need to be managed properly.
"But the experiences I've had with this team over the last four games have been fantastic and I still feel I'm good enough to have an impact at this level."
Nevertheless, it is hard to see England threatening at the latter end of the next World Cup, partly because the last eight appears to be a glass ceiling that cannot be broken, but also because no European country has ever won the World Cup in South America.
It was a point Gerrard's good friend Jamie Carragher made rather forcibly in his role as a pundit for ITV, and drew a stinging response from his Liverpool team-mate.
"So should we just not go? Should we give up?" he said.
"Should we not go to that tournament because of what Jamie Carragher said?
"Listen, there are a lot of people out there with different opinions.
"We can't control what they are saying.
"What's important is that we know what we are good at and where we need to improve.
"We have to stick together, dust ourselves down and go again."
what do you think?
Premier Leauge V England. It's one or the other all the English players are overlooked in favour of overseas players so our players remain in the back room lacking experience thus the England team being as good as a championship team. The players are there but just unplayed. It's time the FA took a look at the situation and decide if we can compete any longer and should we bow out now in favour of the cash rich premier Leauge that no other country wants because it decimates football. ?
couldnt agree more, they should limit a couple of foreign players to a club like they use to, get sick of watching these foreigners roll over a dozen times when they fall over a blade of grass, i bet the rugby players have a good laugh
@ Stephen..They used to do this, unfortunately it is now against the law, something called restriction of trade. We cannot restrict members of the EU from working in this country. Not sure about all the non EU players but assume it must be similar, also with non EU i seem to remember them needing to have played a certain percentage of internationals before getting a work permit, but I do agree with you 100%
I have a friend who thinks the same as Roy. He believes because Italy are in the final and they only beat us on penalties that there is nothing wrong with our football. I can't fathom out if they're watching the same games.
far to many foreign players in the english prem, until its sorted and young english players get the chance to come through then its not going to happen, we alaways think we are better then every one else and we are simply not. Making excuses about the heat or the pitch yet its the same for other teams. Last won in 1966 world cup what does that tell you, we cant even manage more then a dozen passes and they call themselves professional. Over rated over payed.
Don't blame the number of foreign players. You still have dozens of English players in the Premier. The truth is the premier managers does not encourage ball skills, just kick and rush, or pass the ball if an opponent is near, never take an opponent on (because your not skillful enough). The Premier is always refered to as "the best league in the World" - well wake up and smell the coffee, because it aint!.
"Hodgson looking to the future"! And he still can't see Engulund competing for a final!