Will England ever win another major tournament?
England did all that could have been asked of them against Moldova - but will they ever win a major tournament again?
The 5-0 scoreline on Friday night was emphatic enough, even if the last two goals did come fairly late on from the best player on the park, James Milner, and a deflected free-kick that gave left back Leighton Baines his first goal for England.
Roy Hodgson's side should win every game in their group, but they won't, and if they do win another World Cup or a first European Championship in my lifetime - I am 57 by the way - it won't make my departure any easier, but it will give me a little cheer before I go!
I just can't see it happening though, because we are trapped in a no-man's land as a nation at the moment, caught between the devil and the deep blue sea.
On the one hand we are opening a brand new Centre of Excellence in Burton, yet on the other we are packing our top tier teams with foreign players. How is that going to help our young stars progress?
Freedom of movement and employment is a big issue worldwide right now, so I can' t see any move for a capping system on the number of foreign players allowed per team being successful.
Home grown talent
There is also the argument that if we do have so much good young home grown talent, how come we have only won one major tournament in 46 years?
We see lots of players young and old coming to play here but how many English players go to play abroad and make a success of it? The answer is not many.
One option is to admit that we are simply not good enough and settle for being also rans. But that will never happen.
As long as people regard the Premier League as the best in the world and our top teams continue to win more than their fair share of European club honours we have got to be respected whatever the circumstances.
It is time now to swallow our pride and allow the foreign talent that has flooded the country to teach us new ways and then maybe we can progress.
There is much talk of how our game has become more technical in recent years, both on and off the field.
Switch to other styles
All well and good but until we demonstrate the ability to take that on board fully and show the capacity to switch to other styles when required, for example when trying to play to the strengths of undoubtedly talented players like Andy Carroll, we will remain well and truly stuck amongst the also rans.
Double winners Spain are a remarkably talented side - and the reality is this: It is in the main a talent that has been instilled in them rather than one born of natural skill and abiltiy.
Therefore, anyone can become as good as they are if they demonstrate the open-mindedness and willingness to be taught how to do it.
That's what should be happening in that Centre of Excellence once it opens fully.
Let's have more encouragement and a lot less negativity where old school coaches who only ever kicked a winger in anger as a full back stifle talent in the pursuit of fitness and defensive strength.
Football is played with a ball - not a blackboard or a pen and a piece of paper. Let's see more focus on developing players who are comfortable with a ball at their feet.
By Steve Bott
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