Rio Ferdinand believes England must be prepared to miss out on qualifying for major tournaments in order to undergo radical reform and rediscover their identity.

The Manchester United defender says that process needs to start with the implementation of a new philosophy that can be applied to England teams at all levels – something he believes has been overlooked ever since Glenn Hoddle was dismissed as manager in 1999.

Emphasising the need for change Ferdinand said there is a disconnect between the senior national side and the Under-21 and youth teams in stark contrast to many other football nations. He also expressed major concerns about the technical abilities of upcoming English players and questioned whether youngsters are being taught basic skills.

For the Football Association to put things right and avoid the sort of ignominy England endured this summer when the Under-21s and the Under-20s performed miserably at the European Championship and World Cup respectively Ferdinand believes it will "take someone to grab it by the scruff of the neck and say 'This is what we're going to do and we're going to take 10 years to do it.'"

In Ferdinand's eyes England need to go back to the drawing board and establish a clear way of playing across all of the country's representative teams which is something that Dan Ashworth the FA's director of elite development has accepted is a vital issue that he intends to "pin down".

Ferdinand who retired from international football in May said: "What is our identity? I've said that on Twitter I don't know how many times and people come back and say 'What are you talking about?' But what is our identity? We started to see something when Glenn Hoddle was in charge a bit of an identity then free-flowing football and you would say we were starting to get an idea of the pattern of what he wanted to implement in the team. Since then I don't think we've actually really seen an identity where you could say: 'That's an England team' where you look at the Under-21s and go: 'That's an England team.'

"If all the names were taken off the back of the shirts and the colours were changed you couldn't go in there and say 'That's an England team that's our identity that's the way we play.' And that's from the Under-16s right up to the senior team.