Former Kerry player and RTÉ pundit Pat Spillane believes the Kingdom could be in for a tough year following their poor start to the National League.

Eamonn Fitzmaurice’s side are winless after two matches - they failed to score in the second half against Mayo, while Dublin eased past them with relative ease in Killarney last Sunday.

While Spillane agrees that the side are in transition, he has his doubts whether the blending of the old and new brigade can produce a rich dividend in 2013.

Speaking to RTÉ Sport, Spillane explained: “Two matches, two defeats and the statistics make grim reading, with a paltry scoring return.

"Yes, Kerry are a team in transition, but the older lads have lost that yard or two of pace and the younger guys are just not good enough. The county are now paying the price for not bringing through adequate minor and U-21 sides over the last 20 years.

"Against Dublin our kick passing was poor, but more worrying was the lack of intensity, pace and passion. You can criticise players for many things, but when they don’t have heart, and many on the Kerry team did not show heart against the Dubs, then it is time to worry.”

"The county are now paying the price for not bringing through adequate minor and U-21 sides" - Pat Spillane

Asked whether the current malaise represents a crisis in the Kingdom, Spillane issued a forthright response. “It is a crisis with a capital C.

"Three tough away games against Kildare, Donegal and Tyrone await and with Division 1 being very competitive this year, Kerry are going to find it tough. The rebuilding should have started last year."

The Templenoe native offered a much more positive assessment of the Dubs: “They are a serious outfit and are back playing with the intensity of two years ago.

"There is serious competition for places. The team plays with pace, with the half-backs having a licence to attack and the forwards have the eye in for scores when the opportunity presents itself.

“I see them as genuine contenders for league and championship honours this year. This is a serious team.”