England Under-21s' failure at the European Championship can be partly attributed to the Premier League which has "created its own monster", according to Alan Shearer.
Gareth Southgate's men crashed out of the group stage of a major competition for the third time in a row, leading to much soul searching in how England approach international tournaments.
Shearer, who scored 13 times in 11 Under-21 appearances before going onto forge a successful senior international career, believes the country are being held back by youngsters not being able to develop naturally as a result of scrutiny placed on any player in the top flight.
"There is no longer an environment at the top level where a player can just evolve," said Shearer in his column in the Sun.
"The Premier League has, in many ways, created its own monster. Young players who show potential are immediately catapulted to a level that is undeserving.
"With that comes demands for bigger contracts from agents and suddenly a teenager or someone in their early 20s is commanding £100,000 a week. With that contract just a little bit of the kid's hunger is taken away.
"Our Premier League is a terrific product. It is exciting to watch but that deludes us into thinking it is of the highest standard. It is not. In fact the standard is not as good now as it was 10 years ago."