Gerrard: Stronger in 2016
Steven Gerrard says England’s humbling experience at the World Cup will help them mount a strong challenge at Euro 2016.
England take on Costa Rica in Belo Horizonte on Tuesday in the final match of their Group D campaign and will then fly home after a hugely disappointing tournament.
But despite the sorry showing in South America, skipper Gerrard believes the 17 England players in Brazil who had never been to a World Cup before will be stronger for the experience.
"The World Cup is a level where you don't forget your experiences in two weeks, four weeks, a couple of months - they live with you for a long time," said the England captain, who will start on the bench in Belo Horizonte.
"But you have to accept that and try and move forward so that if you're picked for another tournament, your experiences are better.
"I do think the youngsters here have that character. I've said how talented they are. They do the right things in and around training, and they want to stay at this level for a long time.
"It will be better in two years because of the standard of players we have here."
England's players and management have come in for a barrage of criticism following defeats to Italy and Uruguay - although the likes of Paul Scholes had pointed out what they believe to be deficiencies even before the tournament began.
Gerrard admits that criticism has had an impact.
"In this position as captain you have to accept there are opinions out there," he said.
"I am not sitting here telling everyone they have to stop. Everyone is entitled to their opinion.
"But sometimes it is frustrating when you are sat here and there is someone who you have played with and they have been in your position, they have suffered with you and they know what it's like to be down - and they pile a bit more misery on you."