Over the summer, England football received another reminder of its problems with the national side as the Under-21s lost every game in the European Championships in Israel and the Under-20s were eliminated from the Under-20 World Cup drawing two and losing one.
Could we be surprised in 2014 or will England once again prove to be inferior among the world's top footballing nations?
GMS looks at the potential starting eleven for Roy Hodgson and England's first World Cup group match in Brazil - if we qualify that is.
GK: Joe Hart
The Manchester City goalkeeper looks a step above his predecessors between the posts but like many of England's past number ones, he is liable to make a mistake.
Hart will be hard to push off the number one spot in time for Rio 2014 and a successful season under new boss Manuel Pellegrini will help his cause.
The ex-Shrewsbury man is the most likely of starters in the eleven players chosen.
RB: Kyle Walker
The Spurs defender will be looking to improve this season under boss Andre Villas Boas.
Walker will have to fight off competition from Glen Johnson and Chris Smalling to earn his national place but the Tottenham right back is a talented player.
If Walker has a strong season in an exciting new Spurs team, he will be more than equipped to represent England come June of next year.
CB: Gary Cahill
The quick centre half will look to learn from ex-England captain John Terry at Chelsea.
Cahill has impressed since being called-up to the England team in 2010 while playing for Bolton Wanderers and has proved his eye for goal on numerous occasions.
The Chelsea defender looks to have the potential to be a long-serving player for his country and a successful season under Jose Mourinho will help him solidify his spot in defence.
CB: Phil Jones
One of England's brightest prospects, Phil Jones is becoming an important regular at Old Trafford.
Originally a midfielder, Jones has become vital to United's back line and will surely be their next centre half as soon as Rio Ferdinand or Nemanja Vidic pick up an injury.
Jones is a potential future England captain and his tenacity and strength will make him a strong choice for the World Cup back line.
LB: Ashley Cole
Cole will be 33 by the time of the big kick-off but his reputation as the best left back in the world is well-earned.
The fiery England regular has the fitness to prolong his career extensively and with Leighton Baines unlikely to move to Manchester United and therefore play Champions League football and challenge for honours, Cole is still favourite to retain his spot at the end of the season.
DM: Tom Cleverley
The United midfielder impressed on loan at Wigan a season ago but to many the jury is still out on Cleverley.
With the 24-year-old playing European football and holding down a regular starting place at Old Trafford, it looks likely that he will be favoured and improved by the time the squad is announced next year.
CM: Jack Wilshere
Many people agree that Wilshere is a top talent and is capable of becoming one of England's best players.
His skill, determination and dribbling ability is coupled with goalscoring prowess and the youngster will undoubtedly impress in Arsenal's midfield.
Wilshere looks to be more than capable of taking on the world's best. He will be 22 during the 2014 World Cup but his mature playing style makes him look more seasoned than he is.
CM: Steven Gerrard
The England captain is one of the last of the old generation but his ability as a skipper and a player are untouchable.
Gerrard will more than likely be starting the first game in Rio but only if all goes to plan. The Liverpool legend will be 34 by the time the World Cup comes around and the prevention of injuries will be his main focus throughout this important campaign.
AM: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
The promising Arsenal star still needs added experience to earn himself a regular spot for his club and country but with Arsene Wenger seemingly failing to bring in new talent, Chamberlain could become an ever-present in a tough season for the Gunners.
With Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard ageing and James Milner falling increasingly out-of-favour at City, Chamberlain could make the attacking midfield position his own.
ST: Danny Welbeck
The United striker has started the season well and seems to be a regular choice under David Moyes after earning his spot over the last two seasons.
Welbeck is a flexible striker who can score superb goals but his ability to score regularly is an area in need of improvement in order to become England's talisman.
The striker had a good European Championships in 2012 and seems to be an important player for coach Roy Hodgson.
ST: Wayne Rooney
With his future the hottest topic of discussion in English football, Wayne Rooney desperately needs stability and a position on the pitch closer to the goal.
The out-of-favour United man has slowly been moulded into a midfielder by Sir Alex Ferguson after the acquisition of Robin Van Persie last summer proved to relegate Rooney to a position behind the Dutchman.
Rooney has not been the same since Van Persie arrived and the longer he stays in a deep role, the more his striking ability will diminish.
The England number ten is still the nation's best hope of success and should he be anywhere near top form come the end of the season, he will definitely be starting in Hodgson's team.
Subs: Lescott, Baines, Walcott, Johnson, Ruddy, Sturridge, Carrick.
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