The Three Lions have come in for criticism in the past few weeks, primarily due to the dismal showing of Stuart Pearce's Under-21 side at the European Championships in Israel.
Pearce's team failed to gain a point or score a single goal from open play in their three group games, leading Ferdinand to question if there is a plan for youth development from senior England officials.
He told Sky Sports News: "If you watch Italy, Holland, Spain or Germany playing at youth level, you would know who they are without looking at their shirts.
"There is an identity with those teams. They have a DNA of the way to play. We don't have that. When we won the World Cup in 1966, we didn't copy anyone else. We played the way England play. It was our style and our identity. Have we kept it? I don't think so.
"The question I would ask is 'are these coaches telling young kids to pass it to someone who already has a man marking them?'. Are they saying 'he has to learn how to deal with it'? I don't know if we are."
The 34-year-old retired from international football to concentrate on his career with Manchester United, finishing his England career with 81 caps.