England's World Cup captain Lewis Moody has said he is "genuinely gutted" by Martin Johnson's resignation as manager.
Moody, who retired from international rugby after England's disappointing World Cup performance, believes Johnson was still the best man for the job.
However, Johnson announced on Wednesday that he had decided, after much soul-searching, not to continue.
The Rugby Football Union are now in the process of recruiting the next England coach, who will lead the team into the 2015 World Cup on home soil.
"I am genuinely gutted for Martin and the team to hear that he has decided not to continue in the role," Moody said.
"As I've said before, having taken England to a Six Nations win for the first time in seven years and achieved 10 out of 13 wins for England this season, he has been a great asset to England, and in my eyes was the right man for the job - to take them forward to 2015.
"He was a great man to work with and under and I know that the rest of the team will agree that he will be sorely missed. I wish him all the best in whatever he goes on to do."
England's defence specialist Mike Ford takes the same view as Moody, having watched Johnson develop from a manager with no coaching experience at all.
Ford said: "You have to have experience to become a good coach at international level.
"After going through what he did for three years I think he was ready to take the England team forward to new heights."