James Ward-Prowse files his final exclusive blog for saintsfc.co.uk following England's elimination from the 2013 FIFA U20 World Cup.
England Under-20s were harshly beaten 2-0 by Egypt last night, leaving the Young Lions eliminated from the U20 World Cup having drawn two and lost one of their group fixtures. Ward-Prowse sent over his final diary as soon as he touched back down in England this afternoon.
My World Cup experience has unfortunately come to an end after failing to beat Egypt in our final group match, which we lost 2-0. I don't feel ready to come home already – we all had such great belief that we would go far.
I speak for all of the players and staff when I say we are all disappointed with our progression in the tournament. I certainly felt from the first time we met up as a squad that we were destined for big things as the team spirit was there for everyone to see. We were driven on by the disappointment from the Under-21s' performance at the Euros (2013 European U21 Championship).
We've also been a squad that has progressed every day. On every single day, I felt that our knowledge of each-others' games, our team spirit, belief and desire to win grew but unfortunately we couldn't perform when it mattered.
Although we haven't deemed this a successful tournament by failing to qualify out of the group stage, in my eyes it's been incredibly successful and beneficial to me as a person. To say as an 18-year-old that I've played in a World Cup is something every young footballer wants to achieve, and I'm so grateful to have been given the opportunity to perform on the world stage. I've thrived on the everyday challenges that the World Cup has thrown at me.
It's been a huge test to come straight from a tough Premier League campaign straight into a World Cup, leaving my family, friends and girlfriend behind along for the physical demands that the tournament posed. Acclimatising ourselves to the conditions and working on our recovery strategies ensured we were in the best state possible to perform.
I must say a big thank you to all of the staff who accompanied us on our trip. Every member of staff made the trip into a great atmosphere for all of us as players to feel happy on and off the pitch.
This tournament has given me a an even bigger idea of what it's going to take to become a top Premier League and regular international player, and my determination to reach those levels is even greater now.
I now have a few days off to rest and relax before I meet up with the First Team to travel off to Spain for pre-season, and I feel I am a better-equipped professional to be able to contribute to the team this season.
To me the World Cup was a huge learning experience and, although it was disappointing in terms of results, I'm now in an even more privileged position coming back to start preparations for another season in the Premier League!