England midfielder Ross Barkley believes that his side's FIFA World Cup™ campaign will provide a valuable lesson for young members of Roy Hodgson's squad. The selection of Everton midfielder Barkley, 20, Luke Shaw, 18, and 19-year-old Raheem Sterling made England's squad the youngest to go to a World Cup since 1958.
In 1958, as well as this year, England went out in the first round, but Barkley is confident that the experience will not be in vain.
"It is a big disappointment from my point of view, but you have got to have these type of things to learn from," Barkley told reporters in Belo Horizonte before the squad flew back to England on Tuesday evening.
He said advice given by the England's established stars will help the squad's development.
"I think I have benefited from this tournament and I think all the other younger lads will have, even though we didn't do well on the pitch. I thought being around all the experienced players has been good for me."
Barkley made cameo appearances in England's 2-1 defeats by Italy and Uruguay before being handed a starting berth in the 0-0 draw against surprise Group D winners Costa Rica on Tuesday. Shaw made his competitive debut against Costa Rica, while Arsenal's Jack Wilshere, 22, was granted his first major tournament start in the game.
I thought being around all the experienced players has been good for me.
"We have got good young midfielders like Jack [Wilshere] and Phil Jones, Luke Shaw, Raheem [Sterling]," Barkley added.
"We've got young lads coming through who are showing in the Premier League week in, week out what they can do. We have got to be able to do that at international level as we get older and hopefully in the Euros in two years' time, we are going to be ready for that."
Shaw is the youngest player to have featured at this World Cup and he said it was an experience that he would never forget.
"It was unbelievable to play in a World Cup game -- the biggest stage in football," said the Southampton left-back.
"Whether you play or not, you gain massive experience. In training, you are training with world-class players day in, day out. And it is something that you will learn from."