Eddie Jones leaves behind a legacy of "misguided rhetoric and unfulfilled promises" following his dismissal as England coach, says Clive Woodward.
The Australian was sacked nine months out from the Rugby World Cup after overseeing the nation's worst calendar-year record for over a decade, winning just five out of 12 Test matches.
With Jones having led England to the final of the last tournament in Japan in 2019, the Rugby Football Union's (RFU) decision represents a major gamble so close to next year's competition in France.
But Woodward, a frequent critic of Jones over a difficult year, feels he has paid the price for his distractions since defeat to South Africa in Yokohama.
"He's a much better coach than he has shown over the past three years," he wrote in the Daily Mail. "He is a shadow of the Jones I competed with and whose first years with England were so successful and rightfully applauded.
"He became completely focused on the 2023 World Cup and that was a costly error. He lost focus of simply winning the next game and allowed himself to get distracted.
"What will [his] legacy be? The semi-final victory over New Zealand was his best performance, but unfortunately, he will be remembered for the misguided rhetoric and unfulfilled promises.
"I don't think history will remember this period of English rugby too kindly."
Leicester coach Steve Borthwick, who steered his side to the Premiership Rugby title last term, has been tipped as a likely successor to Jones in charge of England.
But Woodward says that, if selected, the RFU must allow him to put his own stamp on the team, including bringing his Tigers assistant Kevin Sinfield, the former rugby league playmaker, into the fold.
"If it is Steve Borthwick who comes in, then we've all got to get behind him and I wish him all the best," he added. "He must be given the full support and resources to ensure there are no excuses.
"He must be allowed to bring in his own team, and if I was him, I would bring Kevin Sinfield over from Leicester. The players will have a second chance and there is enough talent out there to go and win next year’s World Cup."