Wales striker Craig Bellamy believes the strain of expectation has left England unable to perform to their potential on the international stage.
Fabio Capello's star-studded team were expected to challenge for glory at last summer's World Cup but endured a dismal campaign, finally crashing out 4-1 to a youthful Germany in the last 16.
Bellamy reckons the players were affected by the pressure of being under such intense media scrutiny and could not express themselves on the pitch as usual.
"Before the World Cup you had certain players being lined up to be knighted," Bellamy, preparing to face the Three Lions in a Euro 2012 qualifier in Cardiff this weekend, told the Daily Mail.
"You're going into it with the best centre-half in the world, the best centre-forward in the world.
"But tournaments don't work out like that. Germany were brilliant because they went with a group of players who were given freedom.
"England just looked - because so much was expected of them - tense, so tense.
"At the World Cup it was just too rigid. I thought they got broken in between the lines. It just didn't look right."
Afraid of boos
Bellamy does not feel it is just at showpiece tournaments that England suffer such problems, but also in lower-profile matches.
"Are England players scared? I remember Steven Gerrard, before playing Andorra, saying he didn't want to give the ball away because he was afraid of the boos," he added.
"That's Steven Gerrard, one of the greatest players in the world over the past 10 years. He felt that, so imagine that environment?
"You look at the players, they got to Champions League finals. Do the players want it? Of course they do, they don't play for England for money."