Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker has blamed England's poor Euro 2016 showing on a lack of direction and mental toughness.

Lineker, 55, also went on to say that there were no shortages of passion from the England players, but they ultimately fell short due to a lack of experience, or a notable leadership figure.

England v Iceland - Round of 16: UEFA Euro 2016

Roy Hodgson also came under the microscope, this time for his questionable team selection and stubbornness for picking the likes of Jack Wilshire and Jordan Henderson, both of whom spent much of the 15/16 season injured.

England embarrassingly crashed out of Euro 2016 at the Round of 16 stage, losing to minnows Iceland 2-1 despite going ahead in the 4th minute through a Wayne Rooney penalty.

Speaking to the ​Mirror, Lineker said:

"​You can’t pick out the England players for being overly pampered because it doesn’t vary, it is exactly the same in every other country.

"Welsh players come through the same academies and played for the same clubs. They did perfectly fine.


“I didn’t see a lack of effort in the England side - I saw a lack of direction and a lack of mental toughness when things are going wrong. That is a different thing to them not wanting it or being pampered. That is a nonsense.

“It is definitely not down to passion and wanting it. I think sometimes we go too far the other way and we want it so badly that we clam up and get too tense and too nervous and don’t relax.

"That is another part of it, making sure the players are in the right frame of mind. Sometimes you can over hype things so much that is restricts your own performance.

"We don’t seem to handle it that well, but it is a very young squad and we have not got world class players in their prime yet, we need that to come through in the next few years.”


When asked who was to blame, Lineker replied:

“I think we had an unbalanced squad, a lot of central strikers, we only took one winger and Raheem was sadly out of form going into the tournament. So there wasn’t a balance to the squad, so you have nowhere to go if it goes wrong.

“Taking injured players has never been a good idea, y’know taking Henderson coming back from a long injury and Wilshire through no fault of his own hasn’t played 90 minutes all season. So there were big holes there.

“I just had a sense that we started the tournament pretty well in terms of some of the football, but they didn’t all seem to know what their jobs were. They were not a coherent unit.

“We are not that far short, if the next guy comes in and he is a strong personality and gets a togetherness and a plan and a balance to your squad we can do better anyway.”

While it's easy to reflect on England's shortcomings at this summer's tournament, two countries that have had no such problems are France and Portugal, who are set to battle it off in the Euro 2016 final on Sunday evening.

England v Iceland - Round of 16: UEFA Euro 2016