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Valuable experience gained

Posted on 28 July 2010  - 12:00

Steven Caulker believes he has gained valuable experience following England Under-19s progress to the semi-finals of this summer's European Championships in France.

Valuable experience gained

Steven Caulker believes he has gained valuable experience following England Under-19s progress to the semi-finals of this summer's European Championships in France.

The defender played all bar three minutes of the tournament for Noel Blake's side, who were defeated 3-1 by an impressive Spain side in the last four on Tuesday.

It followed an advance from a tough group including Austria, Holland and hosts France with media interest in this Young Lions age group as high as ever following the senior national side's disappointing World Cup campaign.

And Steven, who broke in at international level for the first time last season during his successful loan spell at League One Yeovil Town, relished every minute of the experience.

Returning home on Wednesday, the 18-year-old said: "It was a very good experience. We played against much stronger opposition than we have been used to from other tournaments. It was a good test for both me personally and for the team as a whole.

"The interest that there was around the tournament added to the pressure but in a good way. I had friends and family calling me to tell me if I'd been in the paper that day and you get to realise what level you're playing at and that none of these games are to be taken lightly. It added something.

"All the teams out there were willing to get the ball down and play, which was different to what I was used to in League One last season. But they were good games to play in and I feel I gained quite a bit from it. It was a pleasure to be involved in.

"Hopefully we'll learn from it and pick ourselves up from here, but it was definitely a lesson in football against the Spanish. The defeat was hard to take."

Another of our young players, midfielder John Bostock, scored England's only goal in Tuesday's defeat but conceded that the better side won on the day.

He added: "From the start Spain played very well. They played just the way they wanted to and it was very hard to stop them.

"I felt a lot of energy returned to our game after my goal, and for a short spell after that we were more intense and our tempo was better.

"But Spain have strong players and the way they play means they're not easy to face. They made it very difficult for us to close them down. I think the best team won."

John continued: "We reached the last four, which is very good for us. We are among the best four teams in Europe. Individually we gave very good performances but we also played well as a team. We'll now be looking to make more progress at the World Cup next year."

Dean Parrett, another of our three representatives in the squad, was suspended for the semi-final having been involved throughout the group stage.