BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil - The huge riches in football is diminishing some players' desire to perform for England, captain Steven Gerrard said as the country licks its wounds over its early World Cup exit.
Gerrard said the speed at which football turns some teenagers into millionaires "has an impact on certain individuals." "For those who want money, fame and everything that comes with football, of course it will have an effect," he told the BBC in an interview ahead of England's final World Cup group game against Costa Rica on Tuesday.
A recent report by consultancy Deloitte said that the average English Premier League player now earns £1.6 million ($2.7m, 2m euros) a year and that wages would rise as the league's value grows.
"If you have the right mentality and the right character, you do things right and work as hard as you can to become the best player you can, but we need more of those players." Gerrard insisted that despite England's worst performance at a World Cup finals since 1958, the 23 players in the squad had the necessary "hunger and desire" to succeed.
"Sitting here now, we are not in a position of strength. The England manager and players need some help because this pool of players we pick from can't get any smaller and if anything it's got to grow.
"We have to get the balance right of still having the best league in the world but expanding the pool of players for this England manager and the England managers in the future." England lost to Italy and Uruguay in Group D, tumbling out of the tournament before even playing their final group game.
Amid the recriminations over the disastrous performance, Queens Park Rangers manager Harry Redknapp said this week some young players at Tottenham Hotspur had asked him to help avoid England duty when he was manager there.