Sir Alex Ferguson claims the weight of expectation on Wayne Rooney was to blame for the striker's poor form at the World Cup.
Rooney failed to score in four matches and looked a shadow of the player who shone for Manchester United last season as England slipped out in the second round with a dismal 4-1 defeat to Germany.
The United manager was "not totally surprised" by England's failure - but said of Rooney: "I think there was such expectation on him. There was talk he was going to be the player of the tournament."
He added: "Don't forget, that was the prelude to the whole thing - he was going to be the star, he was going to outshine them all - (Lionel) Messi, (Cristiano) Ronaldo. So that level of expectation comes into it.
"And he's not got great experience of [playing in]the World Cup really. You wait, in four years' time (at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil) you'll see a different player."
The Scot admitted he was "baffled" by England's poor form in South Africa.
He continued: "That is going to be one of the imponderables - what has really happened and why are they [England]not getting better form. I watched their games and I was baffled by what I saw.
"Expectation was a big thing. They qualified from a group which you'd have to say was a million to one they wouldn't qualify from. So it was an easy passage into the finals.
"Maybe it would have been better if England had been in a tougher [qualifying]group. They'd have earned the right to be one of the favourites and it would have helped that they'd played good teams before they got there."
Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: http://gms.to/writeforgms