Ferdinand kept a close eye on England's depressing performances at the recent European Under-21 Championship and is acutely aware of which countries are shining below that level.
And the 34-year-old is concerned.
"If you watch Italy, Holland, Spain or Germany playing at youth level, you would know who they are without looking at their shirts," said Ferdinand.
"There is an identity with those teams. They have a DNA of the way to play.
"We don't have that. When we won the World Cup in 1966, we didn't copy anyone else. We played the way England play.
"It was our style and our identity. Have we kept it? I don't think so.
"It is all right saying you have some of the best players in the world but you have to put them together and play within a system that works."