England's Euro 2012 prospects are bleak and the best the side can hope for is a place in the semi finals, former England captain Alan Shearer said today.

The ex-Newcastle skipper also added to criticism over the side-lining of Rio Ferdinand, saying he deserves a prominent place in the squad.

Speaking shortly before jetting off to Poland for the tournament, Shearer, 41, said: "I can't see us winning it.

"I think it's the first time I can remember when we've gone into a tournament without huge expectations.

"We didn't even have a manager or a coach a month ago and we've had a lot of injuries."

Asked how far Roy Hodgson's men can hope to get in the contest, hosted by Poland and Ukraine, he said: "I think maybe a semi final position for England."

He questioned Hodgson's controversial decision to leave Rio Ferdinand out of the squad - a move that is attracting growing criticism.

"Every manager has the right to pick who he wants and who he doesn't want," said Shearer.

"But in my opinion, I'd have had Rio in the very first squad."