England technical chief Sir Trevor Brooking fears the nation faces a dreary four years ahead.
Brooking, the FA's Director of Football Development, believes the nation's kid are all right - as England's triumph in the European Under-17 championship last month suggests.
But he admits the immediate future is bleak.
"The World Cup in 2014 will be difficult," said Brooking. "I don't think we have players of obvious quality coming through.
"Maybe we can fast-track one or two lads from the younger age groups - but that's asking a lot.
"The long-term future is good for England. In the last year we have got to finals at Under-21, Under-19 and Under-17 level.
"But we have to wait five years or so for them to come through at senior level."