Castleford's Daryl Powell and Keiron Cunningham of St Helens believe Brian McDermott should have been given the chance to become England head coach.
Australian Wayne Bennett was appointed on Tuesday, replacing Steve McNamara.
McDermott, 45, led Leeds Rhinos to a domestic treble last season and is head coach of the USA national team.
"Do I believe he (Bennett) should have got the job? No I don't, Brian would have been my choice," Powell told BBC Radio Leeds.
And speaking to BBC Radio Merseyside, Cunningham said: "If I was going to go for anybody I'd have gone for Brian. You can team up Brian and a [Wigan coach] Shaun Wane combination.
"A lot of people would question what I'm on about, but when you see what they've done for their teams in a period of time and how much success they've had, then they've got to be doing something really well."
McDermott has won three Super League titles in five years in charge of Leeds, while Wane has led Wigan to the last three Grand Finals - winning a Super League and Challenge Cup double in 2013.
Bennett 'in top two in the world'
Despite their disappointment at English coaches being overlooked for the top role with the national team, Cunningham and Powell believe England have appointed one of the world's best coaches in Bennett.
The 66-year-old is the most successful coach in Australian rugby league history, with seven Grand Final wins in charge of Brisbane Broncos.
"Wayne's definitely in the top two in the world," said Cunningham, 39. "There will be plenty of English boys who will want to work with him. I'd like to work with Wayne myself, I think he's an amazing guy.
"We've tried with Australian coaches in the past, but is there any better Australian coach than Wayne Bennett?"
Powell, 50, added: "Wayne Bennett is an outstanding coach and there's no question he'll do a great job.
"He'll probably go on and win the World Cup. We've got some outstanding players in this country, and if he does that, then fantastic."