THEO Walcott insists the future is bright for England despite suffering more penalty shoot-out heartbreak during Euro 2012.
The former Saints winger and his England colleagues are now back home from Poland and Ukraine after losing 4-2 to Italy on spot-kicks in Sunday’s quarter-final clash in Kiev.
But Walcott believes the plus points have outweighed the negatives and that England should look forward with confidence to the World Cup qualifiers which start in September.
The 23-year-old said: “We have got to look forward to the future because it is going to be bright.
“I am sure of that.
“We have to have our heads raised up high and we have got to look forward to the World Cup qualifiers coming up soon.
“We’ll have a good break, and everyone deserves it, but a lot of experience was learnt in that game against Italy, especially for the young players – and I am one of them “A lot of players have made names for themselves in this tournament and that’s all we can do.
“We’ve got to look for the positives and learn from the negatives.”
Walcott added: “We will be stronger, we can only get better and better.
“We had a short time with Roy (Hodgson) being the manager and now we can look forward to the qualifiers.
“But everyone needs to just rest and relax because it’s going to be a tough season. We’ve got some tough games in the qualifiers.”
Walcott is expected to be one of the younger players Hodgson builds his 2014 World Cup squad around.
He has appeared in all five of Hodgson’s matches, takking his caps total to 27.
Of more immediate interest, though, are England’s next few games.
Ironically, the next match is a friendly against Euro 2012 conquerors Italy in Switzerland on August 15 – three days before the start of the Premier League season.
Then follow World Cup qualifiers against Moldova, Ukraine, San Marino and Poland before a friendly against Sweden in Stockholm in November.