Former England and Tottenham defender Ledley King insists the national team does have the quality of players to compete with the best sides in the world but needs a better method and a more distinctive style of play.

King, who won 21 caps for England and could have earned many more but for a long-standing knee problem, played in Euro 2004 and was named in the squad for the World Cup in 2010.

England play Montenegro on Friday and Poland on Tuesday, knowing only two wins will guarantee them automatic qualification for next summer's World Cup in Brazil.

King disagrees however that England's current crop of players lack ability and instead believes Roy Hodgson's men need a stronger identity and a clearer style of play.

“I think on paper we still have a very good team, it’s just when it comes together we need to have a better method and a way of playing," King told the Enfield Independent.

“Obviously it’s a problem we’ve been looking at for a long time now. We’ve been asking the question of why we are not performing - why are we not bringing through the players?

“But we’ve seen the players play in the Premier League week in week out, we know they are good players, we know they can pass, score goals, do it all. 

"It's as a team that it doesn’t seem to come together and that’s what we’re trying to find – the solution."

King agrees one solution is to learn from how other countries go about coaching at youth team level but he also believes there should be more joined-up thinking throughout the national set-up.

“I think we probably can take a lot from learning from other countries' systems and having a structure from the bottom," King said.

“But we need our players to learn that structure as soon as they start playing international football in the younger teams and then we have to follow that right through to the senior team team - I think that’s what we need to work on.”