Leah Williamson said her England team-mates could hold their heads high after coming agonisingly close to a place at next year’s FIFA Women’s U17 World Cup.
The Three Lions captain marshalled the side to the European Championship third-place play-off where they were edged out by Italy after a penalty shoot-out.
But the Arsenal defender refused to be downbeat after the game and hopes to gain a lot from the whole tournament experience.
England 0-0 Italy
(Italy win 4-3 on penalties)
UEFA Women's U17 Championship
Sunday 8 December 2013
Burton Albion FC
Williamson said: "Congratulations to Italy, but we had our chances to win the game. It wasn't to be, though, and we've got to hold our heads high because we did deliver.
"We played well. England teams always get stronger as the tournament goes on.
"A lot of us have said that this is the tightest team we've played in.
"I'm just thankful to have had this opportunity and been part of it. It's proven to be a very valuable experience, especially with [former U17] players going up to the seniors."
Williamson also reserved a word of praise for the 12,790 spectators who attended the tournament’s 16 matches – especially the 2,000 who cheered England on in their opening group match, against the Italians.
She added: "The support has been phenomenal, the atmosphere in the first game was crazy and something these players have never experienced.
"When you're performing on the pitch, you feel you're performing for them. It's been brilliant."