Women players in England are technically excellent but need to be more athletic, says the Football Association’s head of women’s football.
Baroness Campbell, former chair of UK Sport, was speaking at the Wembley launch of plans to double participation in the women’s game by 2020.
The FA is also targeting victory for England at the 2023 Women’s World Cup.
“One of the big challenges in the women’s game is just developing athleticism,” Campbell told BBC Sport.
“It is not technical and tactical – [in those aspects] they are probably as good as anybody in the world.
“But that athleticism that you see in the American players or the Germans is a very different type of athleticism, power and agility. We have got a long way to go.
“We need to build it in much earlier. We can’t suddenly do that. We need to be working with players much earlier on.”
Baroness Campbell’s comments came when she was asked why the FA had not set Mark Sampson’s side the target of winning the next Women’s World Cup in 2019, given that they finished third in Canada two years ago.
But the former junior international pentathlete and netball player said the goal of winning in 2019 was “probably not realistic”.
Campbell, who joined the FA in January 2016, wants to improve the talent pathway for younger England players, in anticipation that some of the current senior side could retire before 2019.
The United States have won the Women’s World Cup a record three times, while Germany have triumphed twice, with England’s bronze medal in Canada their best result so far.