Paul Scholes believes that England’s defensive players are to blame for the Three Lions’ abject World Cup showing.

Roy Hodgson’s men made it two losses from two on Thursday night as they slipped to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Uruguay – who were spearheaded by Luis Suarez.

The result, allied to Costa Rica’s shock win against Italy, leaves England’s hopes of making it out of Group D gone – making 2014 the first year since 2014 the nation has failed to get out of the first phase of the competition.

Wayne Rooney has been made a scapegoat by some for his frustrating displays against the Azzurri, while other have pointed the finger at captain Steven Gerrard whose loose header presented Suarez with the game-winning chance in Sao Paolo, but Scholes believes that the back four are the culprits for the disappointment:

“Going into the tournament we all feared the back four were never not going to concede goals – and now it has been proven.” He wrote in his Paddy Power column.

“There is no way you can blame Steven Gerrard for not getting more on the ball from a header in the middle of the park for Luis Suarez’s second goal. The defenders didn’t sense the danger.

“Roy is close to finding something – but he needs two young centre-halves that have the balls to play, the balls to step into midfield now and again and full-backs who can defend.

“We have got two full-backs now in Leighton Baines and Glen Johnson who are great going forward – but we’ve got great forwards already. We need solid defenders and we’re not blessed with great talent in this area.

“Not bringing Ashley Cole was probably a mistake – not so much for his attacking qualities – but more his defensive ones. I think Baines and the whole of the back four have been found out a bit. It has been argued that John Terry could have steadied the ship and taken command – but he’s not getting any younger either.

“Ideally what was needed was a young John Terry and a Rio Ferdinand in his prime to marshal the defence.”

The Magic Sponge