But Gareth Southgate's Under-21 side proved there are reasons to be hopeful with a record-breaking 9-0 win over San Marino on Tuesday.
ON TARGET: James Ward-Prowse celebrates his goal against San Marino [GETTY] [GETTY]
And it has even sparked the creation of a special FA commission to try to get more English players featuring at the highest level.
CONFIDENCE: Ward-Prowse says that Gareth Southgate has brought confidence to the team [GETTY]
"Every day in training the sessions are good and we are enjoying it. That is being replicated in the game.
I think he’s a good candidate for a playmaker role but he can also be an effective box-to-box midfielder.
Midfielder Ward-Prowse took the captain's armband from goalkeeper Jack Butland at half-time, and is keen to become the permanent skipper.
James Ward-Prowse has backed Luke Shaw to stay at Southampton [GETTY]
We want to win and the manager and his staff spoke about the ruthlessness they want us to have and having the right attitude. Each one of the lads had a real good attitude."
"It was nice of Jack to hand it down to me at half-time. It is something I am wanting to do on a more permanent basis.
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Did this player develop better in your FM 2015 save? Share a screen shot of his future profile with us by uploading the file below! (please include your name/nickname in the file name)
In my test save Arsenal (with me as manager on holiday) bought him in 2016 for just over 20 million pounds and he became a first team regular right away. Moreover, he managed to rake in no less than 51 caps for England until 2021. The future profile screen shot, taken in October 2021, shows a really amazing midfielder, decent on the physical side, with excellent vision and determination to complement rock-solid technical attributes. He became a very good set piece taker too.
Here's the tennis gear you need to serve up a storm
Adam Lallana rescued a point for Southampton against Arsenal [GETTY]
"In the future that is a role that I consider myself taking on and that is something I am working towards."
"Gareth Southgate and Steve Holland have brought a renewed confidence to the team and I think everyone is going out and playing with belief and character. I feel there is a real change amongst us. We are heading towards changing the fortunes of English football.
Developed extremely well in my save! http://gyazo.com/5ab55a20d423bc5e902603bccbdc8688 http://gyazo.com/acedfd330032cc46023af6a1502d42f4
The national side have been criticised for a lack of talent coming through the ranks.
Southampton is the best club for Luke Shaw according to James Ward-Prowse [GETTY]
He said: "It is an honour to play for my country, but to have the armband as well was great.
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This FM 2015 player profile of James Ward-Prowse shows one of the best young English talents in the game, a playmaker that will definitely become a Premier League star. Buying him right away from the Saints is costly and there’s little to no chance for a bargain deal in the future. I expect you’d need to pay over 20 million pounds to get him even after the first season.
Stunning And 19-year-old Southampton ace Ward-Prowse - who scored a stunning free-kick in the Euro qualifier - feels a new golden generation is ready to emerge.
He said: "There is a feeling amongst this team that we can be successful.