Michael Owen said Sven-Goran Eriksson's decision to play Wayne Rooney as a lone striker contributed to the forward's red card against Portugal.
Owen injured knee ligaments in England's match against Sweden
Owen, 26, told ITV that Rooney's stamp on Ricardo Carvalho may have stemmed from anger at his lack of support.
"He probably only got angry because of what happened in the first hour. It's a frustrating role to play," said Owen.
"Wayne is one of the best strikers in the world and you're cutting one of his legs off if you play one up front."
England lost on penalties in their World Cup quarter-final to Portugal after playing with 10 men for nearly an hour.
Owen said he felt England's exit from Germany was an opportunity missed.
"We've let a big opportunity slip. It's a major disappointment, getting knocked out by Portugal," he said.
We've won a World Cup, so we are not serial losers.
"Player for player, I'm convinced we were the best team in the tournament, yet we're out in the quarter-finals again."
The Newcastle striker, who will have surgery on ruptured ligaments in his right knee in about eight weeks' time, said England needed to be more positive in tournaments.
"I'm not one of those who goes into tournaments thinking why we never win," he said.
"It's an English mentality to think like that but we should snap out of it. We've won a World Cup, so we are not serial losers.
"But we've got to know how to win more."
He also said the level of expectation on England whenever they enter a major tournament is affecting the way the team plays.
"There's so much pressure, people are probably worried about letting the shackles go in case their man scores and they are going to be the scapegoat," he said.
"In my eyes there are far too many players - myself included - who don't play as well for England as they do at club level."