Roy Hodgson has said the country's players lack the "hunger" of older generations, as they no longer need football "to save them from a life of coal mining".
Speaking at the Soccerex Global Convention in Rio de Janeiro, the England manager described the pressures facing modern players.
He said: "The young person today has so much on his plate. The competition to get him concentrating on being a footballer is much, much harder."
"Football in England was a way out of poverty, that's not quite the case any more.
"We don't have people coming up from the mines, getting a game of football to save them from a life of coal mining," the Daily Mail reports.
Speaking to ESPN outside of the conference, Hodgson called for a re-evaluation of football in England in order to take on the best international teams.
He said: "Lots of teams we regarded as secondary teams have worked harder on their games.
"I can mention so many countries putting so much effort into producing players, maybe we ought to start thinking the same.
"We need to start producing players, and look after them very, very well."