Glen Johnson admits England need to work on their ball retention if they are to progress, with Euro 2012 highlighting their offensive deficiencies.
The Three Lions made it to the quarter-finals of this summer's European Championship, but bowed out having struggled to dominate in any of their four fixtures.
An average possession count of just 40 per cent proves that there is much to work on heading forward.
New national coach Roy Hodgson has made the side more resilient at the back, but Liverpool full-back Johnson concedes that they are still being found out when facing technically-superior nations - such as quarter-final foes Italy.
He said: "We allowed Italy too much possession and when you haven't got the ball you are always working harder than the opposition.
"As a result, when we did get the ball, we weren't fresh enough to cause as much damage as we would have liked.
"It's disappointing to be going home like this. The way we were set out and worked so hard for each other meant we were always going to be hard to beat.
"But as a team, you will only go so far with defending all the time.
"There were times when we gave the ball away cheaply instead of keeping possession and making them work that bit more.
"We definitely need to hold on to the ball better so when we do go forward we will be a bit fresher to cause them more problems.
"A lot of the lads were quite tired, especially in the second half, so there were lapses of concentration.
"The positive is that even though we didn't have much of the ball, it didn't feel as if they were going to score.
"It is a credit to the lads the way we dug in and stayed together when things weren't going our way.
"But anything can happen once it goes to penalties. It's just unfortunate it didn't go our way again.
"Anyone can score penalties in training but the lads who stepped up to take them in the match showed real character."