The morning after England’s World Cup dream was ended for another cycle by France, Gary Lineker has reiterated that the team are a ‘credit’ to the nation at a trying time. England were eliminated at the quarter-final stage on Saturday, falling 2-1 to reigning champions France, who scored through Aurelien Tchouameni and Olivier Giroud.

The outcome could have been so different, but Three Lions captain Harry Kane, who earlier scored a penalty to draw the teams level, missed another in the closing minutes. Former England international and BBC pundit Lineker was proud of England’s World Cup run and noted that the youth in Gareth Southgate’s side would hold them in good stead for future competitions.

‘Despite the heartbreak, we should be immensely proud of this young @England side. They have talent. They give everything. They have values.  ‘They are a credit to their sport and our country. And in these times of division and discord, they’re an example to all. And they will win.’

Jude Bellingham was England’s youngest player at this year’s World Cup at 19 years of age, suggesting that with the right luck, he will have several tournament cycles ahead of him.

Meanwhile, attacking players like Declan Rice, Phil Foden, Mason Mount and Bukayo Saka are all in their early 20s, and could potentially represent England at multiple World Cups and European Championships.

Notably, England’s exit was not met with a raft of players confirming the end of their international careers, in a stark contrast to those from Brazil, Belgium and Germany. British PM Rishi Sunak was among those telling England to ‘hold their heads high’ in the aftermath of Saturday’s game at the Al Bayt Stadium.

Southgate has not made a decision about his continued commitment to the national side, but Sportsmail’s Sami Mokbel has joined Kane in calling for the former Aston Villa defender to remain in the post in the build-up to Euro 2024 in 18 months time.

Whilst English players return to domestic football in a little over a week’s time, their next international foray will be the start of European Championship qualifiers in March against Italy and Ukraine.  

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