The failure of England's Under-21 side to get out of their group at the European Championships is yet another in a long line of disappointments for the national team in recent years.
It was not even so much the results themselves that are so unpalatable, but the manner of them. The young players, just like their senior counterparts, seemed to run out of ideas all too quickly. It seems that creativity is just not in the English footballing culture. If you look at the Premier League, the main creative sources in most teams are foreigners.
How many truly accomplished all-round footballers have become England internationals over the last decade? It's a pretty short list. Technically gifted, creative players have often suffered at international level. Players like Joe Cole and Paul Scholes, and even going all the way back to Glenn Hoddle, have never been fully utilised by England managers, and instead were shifted around the team, required to 'fill in' because they were talented enough to make the best of the situation.
The reason those players are such rarities in the English game is because they have grown up with all the pressure being on winning rather than expressing themselves. They have not been raised in an enjoyable environment where they are freer to express themselves, as youth football is set up in most of the top nations around the world. The fear of failure is just too great.
In places like Spain, Germany and the Netherlands young players play in conditions stripped of as much pressure as possible. There is little competitive football before players reach their teens. Smaller teams, pitches, goals and balls are used to better suit the children playing.
Contrast that with England, where kids are playing on full-sized 11-a-side pitches, and it is not hard to see why those players rarely develop the levels of touch, technique and passing of their foreign counterparts, even once they have spent their later years in Premier League club academies.
It means that the youth game in Britain is dominated by the long ball, meaning the bigger kids - or at least those who develop physically much earlier - have the advantage and thrive, hampering the progress of many others.
And when those smaller, more technical players, such as Jack Wilshere, do make it through there is immediately a whole heap of pressure put on their shoulders. Wilshere is undoubtedly a great talent, but if you look at the bigger picture he has only broken into the Arsenal team in the past year and is nowhere near as good as he can become, and yet already he is generating plenty of column inches and being tagged as the big hope of English football.
Of course, he was not even in Denmark which, while a disappointing experience for those who were in the squad, would have served him well as a cautionary tale for when he makes his bow in a senior tournament.
There is also a big problem with coaches at the highest and lowest echelons of the game. Spain, for example, has a similar population to England, but they have around six times more qualified coaches. They are seen as a much more vital part of the football culture there, and are treated as such.
An ex-professional from abroad is a lot more likely to find work for a decent enough salary in their own country than someone in a similar situation in England, where the rate of pay and number of opportunities is nowhere near as high. That can really put a lot of people off, both ex-pros and those coming in from outside the game. Plus, with the huge wages paid out to even the most unremarkable of players these days, what motivation do they have to become managers?
It is bad enough that too many retired stars get their first crack of the whip at reasonably big clubs, just because they were a good player, but at least they can be tempted into it with a large salary and the security that if it doesn't work out they can jack it in and leave the club, players and fans to pick up the pieces. But to try and forge a career as a coach, working more on the training ground for less money? Why would they bother?
For those former players who had less glittering careers, or other enthusiasts looking to turn their love of the game into a profession, a career in the lower levels of the game can be difficult to make a living off at all. The situation is made even more difficult by too many facilities and grounds either falling into disrepair or disappearing altogether.
Of course, it is now customary for every big disappointment at international level to be greeted with calls for the English game to be turned upside down and restructured more in line with other nations, but those calls are soon forgotten once the distraction of the Premier League starts. Besides, it takes the FA and the government so long to get even the simplest thing done that I can't see the matter being addressed any time soon.