We've all had the same conversation in the pub, "Why can't he do for England what he does for his club every week ?"
In my opinion it has alot to do with recent England managers trying to fit their preferred 11 players into the team rather than pick an 11 based on who is the best in that position. For example Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard are the best attacking midfielders but each team should only have 1 so if I was manager one of these would be dropped, but the Fabio Capellos and Steve Mclarens of this world would rather play them both and have one doing a completely different job to the one he does for his club every week.
For what it's worth I consider Frank Lampard nothing more than a glorified penalty taker whose 20 goals a season would be 6 or 7 (and a figure more reflective of his abilities) if he was releived of spot kick duties at Stamford Bridge. Lampard averages a goal every 3 games for Chelsea but only 1 in 4 and a half for England. Yes International football is more difficult but Engalnd don't get as many penalties as Chelsea either !! Gerrard meanwhile, has a goal scoring record at International level similar to his club record for Liverpool.
England also seem to have a problem with Goalkeepers. Paul Robinson, Scott Carson and Robert Green have all shown the same ability as my mum between the sticks when representing the 3 Lions. Joe Hart seems to have made the number 1 spot his own at the time of writing though but I put this down to severe misuse of friendlies over the last dozen years or so. Time and time again we pick the usual suspects for friendlies Ashley Cole, John Terry, Rio Ferdinand, Lampard, Gerrard, Wayne Rooney, so when we come to a big Euro Qualifier (like the one against Croatia at Wembley in 2008) we have a keeper in Scott Carson who is winning his 2nd cap - Why was it only his 2nd cap when we had all those friendlies ??
We got to the World Cup in 2010 and the same lessons had not been learned Robert Green does his best impression of Massimo Taibi and suddenly you here people saying things like "You can't play Joe Hart, he's uncapped" WHY was he uncapped ? We played 4 friendlies just before we flew out and if being uncapped was such a problem, why did they take him in the first place ? was it for his outstanding personality or extensive knowledge of South African Golf courses ?!!
England will never get anywhere while certain players are untouchable and youngsters are not blooded, Capello seems to have learned part of this with his recent pickings but the 6 names mentioned earlier are still first choice in big games even though they weren't good enough in the 2006 World Cup, they weren't good enough to qualify for the European Championships in 2008 and embarrased the nation at last summers World Cup.