By Nick Ames in Kiev

Theo Walcott believes England’s Euro 2012 campaign has helped him and his international team-mates improve as players.

The Arsenal forward featured for the final hour of Sunday night's quarter-final clash against Italy, as Roy Hodgson's men exited the tournament after a penalty shoot-out defeat.

Despite that disappointment, Walcott is certain the future remains bright for the national team.

“I think that, in a short amount of time, the way Roy got the team to play was great to watch at times,” he said.

“We are only going to be better players going into the World Cup qualification matches because we will learn more. We will play teams that aren’t as good as those we have played in this competition.”

Walcott is confident that the knowledge gained in Poland and Ukraine this summer will stand a youthful, new-look England squad in good stead ahead of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

“There are a lot of young players who have gained good experience, me being one of them,” he said. “Going into the next tournament, we will be better and there are loads more players who can get into this team as well.

“It is most important that we have a rest now because it has been a long season for everyone. I am not going to think about football. I think it is important to rest mentally, not just physically, because it’s always up and down and can be tough.”

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25 Jun 2012