Former England right-back Danny Mills has branded the country's under-21 team a bunch of "robots" who "can't think for themselves" after watching them crash out of the European Championship.
Stuart Pearce's Young Lions returned home from Denmark on Monday, still in shock from the nightmarish manner of their exit from the tournament. England failed to win a match, throwing away victory and a semi-final spot after conceding two last-gasp goals against Czech Republic.
Mills, who watched all three of their games in his job as summariser for BBC Radio Five Live, said: "When these youngsters are playing for England, they are fearful. They seem to be too aware they are under scrutiny. None of those players had the confidence or wherewithal to play and get England through."
He added: "I appreciate they're young and still learning the game. But let's not forget either, they're not playing against senior professionals, they're playing against their peers.
"Nobody had the ability on the pitch to stand up and say, 'Right, this isn't going well, I'm going to change this and make a difference'.
"That's because academies are now almost creating robotic players, who have had everything done for them from the age of nine.
"Ever since that age, they've been told what to do and they can't think for themselves."
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