England's inability to see off Slovenia and their unmemorable performance against minnows Malta in the World Cup qualifiers raises the same question about the ability of Gareth Southgate to put together a team of sharp, hungry and match fit players.
Wayne Rooney was put on the bench – as he has been at his club Manchester Utd – a symbol of the club and country tensions that are always a feature of the English game.
The better players get snapped up by the bigger, richer clubs – but tend to play less. But even the smaller clubs have Premier League riches to swell their ranks with foreigners.
And, as the Premier League becomes an increasingly global brand, national affiliations simply play no part – with Watford having the worst record for using English players.
A statistical analysis shows that less than a third of minutes played in the top flight this season have been by English players who haven’t declared for other national teams – West Ham have given England eligible players 24% of game time.
Only three clubs have given more than half of their total game time to English players.
Bournemouth’s English contingent lead the way with 71% of the Cherries’ minutes, while Burnley and Crystal Palace have given 53% of their minutes to English players.
Watford have the worst record in the league though for using English players. Troy Deeney (618 minutes) and Ben Watson (12 minutes) are the only English players used by the Hornets this season, just 9% of the Hornets’ game time.
Chelsea have the next worst record with 14% - John Terry, Gary Cahill and Nathaniel Chalobah - followed jointly by Manchester City - Raheem Sterling, John Stones and Fabian Delph - and Stoke with 17% - Ryan Shawcross, Glen Johnson, Lee Grant and Peter Crouch.
Club: % of minutes
Crystal Palace: 53
Hull City: 39
Leicester City: 34
Manchester City: 17
Manchester United: 26
Stoke City: 17
Swansea City: 26
Tottenham Hotspur: 34
West Bromwich Albion: 31