Former captain Rio Ferdinand accepts a “naive” England did not deserve to stay in the World Cup, but is confident the young squad will grow stronger from the disappointment of Brazil 2014.
England’s early exit was confirmed after Costa Rica beat Italy, leaving the Three Lions bottom of Group D and out of the tournament with a match still to play.
It is the first time in 56 years England have fallen at this stage, with the average age of that World Cup squad the only one younger than the current crop.
However, Ferdinand – part of Sven-Goran Eriksson’s squad which twice reached the last eight in 2002 and 2006 – sees no reason why next time cannot be different as Roy Hodgson must regroup England for the 2016 European Championship.
“The World Cup for me would have been a better place with England in it, but you have to earn the right to stay in a tournament. Unfortunately for us, we have not done that,” Ferdinand said on BBC One.
“Maybe we were a bit naive in situations, in the game yesterday when we got back into it at 1-1, we had a chance to get a point and dust ourselves down, to say ’right, we are ready for the last game when everything is going to be on it,’ but we did not give ourselves the opportunity.
“It was there for us and we just could not see it through.”
But the former Manchester United defender – who was last year named on the Football Association’s commission set up to improve the national team’s fortunes, along with Hodgson – remains positive for the future.
He said: “The England players can take the experience, when I went to the 1998 World Cup, I did not play, some of these guys have played and will do again against Costa Rica hopefully, and they can take that into the next tournament.
“It is valuable, not just playing the minutes, it is being around the hotel, how you prepare yourself, what it means to go to a World Cup, feeling that pressure here, so hopefully they can suck all that in and take it into the next tournament.”
“That is what you have to look for from these young guys. You have a lot of young players in this squad, talented players who are doing well for their clubs and we have to find a way of getting that into our England team with an England shirt (on), and that is the job of the manager.”
Former England winger Chris Waddle said it was barely believable the national team was out of the tournament after two matches.
“They said there would be three teams fighting to get out of the group but we didn’t think England would be bottom,” he told Radio 5 Live.
“England are sitting in their hotel absolutely devastated but they have had two chances to get points on the board and they haven’t taken them.”
Waddle felt the pool of players successive England managers have been able to select from was part of the problem.
“If you have the best players in the world you can play any system you want but we haven’t got that so we have to be hard to beat,” he added.
“The Premier League is completely different from any league in the world and that is the big problem.
“We have everything we need to be a successful country in football: we have the money and facilities.
“We have to get something right about the system of how we produce players because it is just not right.
“A couple of years ago we were looking at Phil Jones and Micah Richards as the two centre-backs for this tournament – Richards can’t get a game at City and what’s happened to Jones at United?
“This team was supposed to be built around Jack Wilshere and he can’t get a game.
“We have a lot of attacking players who are young and will get better but defensively what is coming through?
“We are looking at players all the time saying ’another two years, another two years’.
“I’ll wait for 2016 (European Championships) like everyone else but when you trace the history back it has not happened.”