Rio Ferdinand would like to see a quota system to ensure English players get enough chances in the Premier League.
• Macintosh: English arrogance standing in the way of success
And while he realises European Union law would make it impossible, he said it is "a disgrace" how few homegrown players get an opportunity because of the influx of foreign players and called upon the authorities to act to protect British footballers.
The Manchester United defender won 81 caps for his country and is a former England captain but he is worried that the next generation cannot get first-team football in the top flight.
FA chairman Greg Dyke has also highlighted the shortage of English players in club sides and the dangers it poses for the national team.
And Ferdinand echoed that, telling the Mail on Sunday: "Having so few English players in the Premier League diminishes the English team, of course it does.
"Look at the Manchester City game recently against Newcastle. There was barely an English player on the pitch, three out of 22 starters.
"That is a disgrace. If you look at it and ask whether there should be a stipulation that you have a minimum number of players who are English, even just in your squad, I think that should happen.
"If you look at a lot of teams, there are England players who aren't playing for their clubs -- yet we're hoping to go to a World Cup and do well."
Ferdinand wishes England could follow Turkey’s lead and introduce a rule which would mean foreign players are in the minority in every squad.
He explained: "I would do what Turkey do, and have limits. In that country, clubs can have a maximum of 10 foreign players on the books, and no more than six in any 18-man matchday squad.
"I know that European laws won't let a legal quota happen. So you can't do that. But if you want to protect English football and its heritage and its future, something like that has to be done."