Harry Redknapp believes Jack Wilshere can help take England to the next level - but he does not expect overnight improvement.
The former Tottenham boss, who was overlooked for the manager's job in favour of Roy Hodgson, was surprised by the manner of England's Euro 2012 exit, losing on penalties to Italy in the quarter-final after being outplayed. But he feels a fit and in-form Wilshere - who missed the whole of Arsenal's season through injury - could help England improve their ability to keep possession.
He told betting.betfair.com: "It's a depressing way to go out as we were dominated by an Italian team that hasn't looked that special at Euro 2012. In Andrea Pirlo, Italy had a magician on the pitch....but England do have one of our own in the shape of Jack Wilshere and that's one reason to believe we can improve in the future."
He went on: "They were in a completely different class to us.
"It's the same old story in international football, you have to keep the ball and we couldn't do that. Italy dominated possession and, in Pirlo, they had a man who could just run the game. He was on another level to everyone else on the pitch
"It was almost complete dominance, and to be fair, I didn't see that coming. I didn't particularly rate this Italy side."
Despite the performance, Redknapp was quick to defend the man who got the job he coveted.
"Don't blame Roy Hodgson though, he did the best he could at Euro 2012 with limited time. We were hard to beat and well organised, but hopefully now he can change the way England play and that goes right back to the youth teams," said Redknapp.
"We have got to produce teams who can play the game properly from schoolboy level right through to the senior team. We need to start producing coaches who want to play football. It is going to be a long-term thing, I'm afraid."
He added: "It's over to Roy now. He has four years to stamp his style on the national team and set-up. And maybe with Wilshere to the fore and a few of the old guard around him he can do it."