The last time England won the World Cup in 1966, Andy Cole was five years away from being born.
Since then, the Three Lions have headed into major tournaments looking to add to their trophy haul, only to disappoint a nation of expectant fans.
England continue to enter World Cups and European Championships feeling confident, but always flatter to deceive, and former international striker Cole believes something fundamental needs to be rectified within the English Football Association before the national team will even come close to battling for top honours.
"When will England start to challenge on the big stage - when they decide to find an identity they're prepared to stick with, and when they decide to have the right people in the right places," said the 43-year-old, who was scathing in his assessment of the officials who run English football.
"I like what the Germans and the Spaniards are doing - they have football people in football places, while the business people stay in the business places.
"Also, they stick to what they believe in. For instance, if Germany are winning, Spain don't suddenly want to play like the Germans and change things in the first year of a five-year plan.
"But that's why England will do. They will follow Germany and then Spain will start winning, and then they will look to follow Spain.
"Find your identity, work with it and give opportunities to people who should be in those positions and will do it the right way, instead of clogging it up with people who have never played football but will try to tell you about the game."
Cole played 15 times for England between 1995 and 2002 and scored one goal. He never fulfilled his potential in the England set-up compared to his performances for Manchester United.
He is an avid England fan, though, and is following the team's progress under Roy Hodgson.
The next chance the Three Lions have to deliver on the big stage will be in France at Euro 2016.
Having picked up maximum points from their opening four matches, the English will look to continue their winning ways when they resume their qualifying campaign with a home game against Lithuania this Friday.
Hodgson named his 24-man squad for that game, as well as the upcoming friendly against Italy on March 31, and included four strikers - captain Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge, Danny Welbeck and rising star Harry Kane, who is set to win his first cap after sterling performances for Tottenham this season.
Although Cole believes the quartet will provide plenty of options up front, he would have liked to see West Bromwich livewire Saido Berahino get recognised as well.
"If I was Berahino, I would be bitterly disappointed," he said.
"He got called up for the last round of internationals but Hodgson didn't use him, then, a few months later, Harry Kane gets an opportunity and will most probably play.
"Berahino has every right to be asking what happened to his opportunity because he's done a great job at an unfashionable club like West Brom.
"But they still have Rooney, who's now a senior statesman, it's nice to see Sterling fit, and Kane's going to have his opportunity to show what he can do."
This article was first published on March 22, 2015.
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