Rugby World Cup 2011: Guscott says Johnson has come up short

Martin Johnson has "come up short" as England manager following a stellar playing career, former team-mate Jeremy Guscott has told BBC Sport.

Johnson, who captained England to victory in the 2003 World Cup, saw his team lose to France in the 2011 World Cup quarter-finals on Saturday.

"As a player he was all about winning and as a coach you'd like to think he was the same," said Guscott.

"In that regard he's come up short," added the former England centre.

"If this was a business decision Martin Johnson would be unlikely to continue."

England have got four years to fill in the gaps and improve what they've got and that's achievable - whether it's achievable under Martin Johnson we'll have to wait and see

Jeremy Guscott Former England & Lions centre

Former England scrum-half Kyran Bracken believes the issues affecting the top of the Rugby Football Union (RFU) have had a negative effect on Johnson's management.

"The RFU are in a right state. It's horrendous what has been happening off the pitch," Bracken told BBC Sport. "How [acting RFU chief executive] Martyn Thomas is still involved I will never know. Things have to change right from the top and I hope Martin Johnson stays.

"Above Johnson it's an absolute mess. There must be a structure. Martin Johnson is on his own in this pool of mayhem above and below him, but I think he is the right man for the job. He has been let down by his players and the management above him."

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England's defeat by France comes after three years in which Johnson has struggled to turn England into a consistent outfit.

Since Johnson took charge their record is played 40, won 21, drawn 1, lost 18, and his future will form part of an RFU review of England's World Cup campaign.

"Martin Johnson took this job because he felt he could make a difference. If he can look in the cold light of day and say he has improved the side then he should continue," said Guscott.

"What Martin Johnson is feeling only he knows. If he continues he's even more under the microscope and it's a bold move I think from the RFU to believe that Martin Johnson can make the changes that are required.

JOHNSON'S ENGLAND

  • Opening game is a 39-13 win over Pacific Islands at Twickenham in November 2008 - but they then lose three in a row
  • Finish runners-up in 2009 Six Nations, then third the following year
  • Enjoy home and away wins over Australia in 2010
  • Win the 2011 Six Nations but denied Grand Slam in Dublin
  • Exit 2011 World Cup at the quarter-final stage against France

"For the management I think it's down to Martin Johnson to, as he said, consider his position. If he feels he's strong enough and good enough to go for another four years then that's what he should ask for.

"I'm a bit like Johnno, still making up my mind - 'should he stay or should he go?'"

Several of England's coaching staff were in place before Johnson took over in 2008 and Guscott believes the time has come for them to move on.

"I am of the firm opinion that John Wells [forwards coach] and Mike Ford [defence coach] have certainly had long enough to make an impression and I don't think the performance of the England team has been that good under their guidance," continued Guscott.

"Graham Rowntree [scrum coach] is by all accounts doing a good job, so he's likely to stay, but Mike Ford and John Wells should actually do themselves a favour and move on to some new challenges."

The England careers of a number of veteran players may also be drawing to a close.

"The likes of Jonny Wilkinson, Mike Tindall and Lewis Moody will certainly not play in another World Cup," said Guscott.

"There's a number of players that will remain to form the basis of the side - Ashton, Foden, Tuilagi, Flood, Youngs, Wood, Haskell, Lawes, Cole, Hartley.

"England have got four years to fill in the gaps and improve what they've got and that's achievable.

"Whether it's achievable under Martin Johnson we'll have to wait and see."

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