The statistics, stark and gloomy, will tell you that Brazil 2014 was England's worst FIFA World Cup™ yet. That meagre, solitary point gained in their final match against Costa Rica represents the Three Lions' lowest haul in a World Cup group stage, and they depart without a win for the first time since 1958.

Yet as is so often the case, the numbers also tell a different story. Look closer at the match stats, for example, and they reveal that in all three matches England had more efforts on goal than the opposition, and considerably more dangerous attacks. That counted for nothing in the end, but these figures bear out the fact that Roy Hodgson's side played with a verve and spark that had been conspicuous by its absence at recent tournaments.

All this brings little comfort to Luke Shaw, an 18-year-old already experienced enough to know that the only statistic that matters is the scoreline. Nonetheless, the Southampton left-back - who became the second-youngest player to represent England at a World Cup, behind Michael Owen - believes that the team's performances and emerging youngsters offer genuine hope.

“I’m excited about the future," he told FIFA.com. "I think this team can do big things and I hope that this will be the first of many World Cups for me and a few others. I definitely want to contribute more in the future, and I see the other young lads who're here - guys like Raheem [Sterling] and Ross Barkley - being great England players for years to come.

"There's a lot to build on. There are plenty of good English players coming through, and the likes of Stonesy and Flanno (Jon Stones and John Flanagan), who came out with us but didn't make the final squad, can also make a big impact going forward. It's been a disappointing tournament but we all feel there's a lot to look forward to with this team."

Shaw is likely to be a standard-bearer for England's new generation, with captain Steven Gerrard having tipped him to become the team's starting left-back "for the next ten years". That particular compliment was all the more remarkable as the teenager's position is one in which the Three Lions have strength in depth, with Shaw having pipped one of its finest exponents to a place in the squad.

As he said: "I'll always be grateful to the manager for taking me here, especially picking me over someone like Ashley Cole. That's a guy who's got 100-odd caps and has been one of the best left-backs around for years. Everyone in the world knows what Ashley Cole can do, so for the manager to pick me instead - knowing that he believed in me that much - was a massive boost to my confidence."

Hodgson has undoubtedly shown faith in England's most promising youngsters, and that was underlined by his line-up against Costa Rica - despite the presence of 36-year-old Frank Lampard - ranking as the second-youngest ever fielded by the Three Lions at a World Cup. And if Shaw's upbeat tone jars with the images of a tearful Lampard, that is merely because he has relished his World Cup experience - and hopes to have many more ahead.

"It's been amazing really," he said. "To play at a World Cup at just 18 is incredible, a dream come true. It's probably more than I dreamed to be honest, and I've loved so much about being here. It's been an amazing experience for me to be training day in, day out with the best players in the country - really world-class footballers - and I do feel I've benefited a lot from that. These are the kind of guys I need to learn from and they've been great with me right the way through.

"I've also watched the games really closely to get a feeling for what's required at these kind of tournaments, and it's been amazing in so many respects. It's just the results that have been the big disappointment. I do think we've played well at times and in every game we've managed to create a lot of chances.

"But the only thing that matters in competition football is winning and we haven't been able to do that. That's a huge disappointment to us all and we have to take responsibility for it because it happened in all three games. Honestly, I'm devastated we're going home so early. But the World Cup has gone for us now; we're out. All we can do is look to the future."