Harry Kane admits he will have to overcome a summer of hurt before attempting to lead England to success at Euro 2020.
The Three Lions are reeling following another semi-final defeat, this time slipping to a 3-1 extra-time loss to Holland in the Nations League.
The latest setback comes after Gareth Southgate’s side were beaten by Croatia at the same stage of the World Cup last year.
Reaching the last four of back-to-back tournaments is still progression for England but it dealt another blow to Kane, whose Tottenham team had lost the Champions League final to Liverpool just five days earlier.
“Yes it hurts. It hurts a lot,” he said when asked if results in the last week had been difficult to swallow.
“Of course, this week could have been so different and as a professional athlete that is all you dream about, you dream about lifting trophies and winning games.
“So it will hurt over the summer, it isn’t something you can just clear out of your mind but I think it is important, not just for me but the lads who have had tough years, to refresh as much as possible with their mind and their body.
“Then of course it comes thick and fast and before you know it we will be in the Premier League again and we will be talking again.
“But it hurts, there is nothing else I can say. I want to win and the boys want to win and the Spurs boys want to win but it wasn’t our week.
“As an athlete you have to take that on the chin and the only thing you can do is learn from it.”
England do not have to wait long for the next chance to end their wait for a major trophy, which stretches back to the 1966 World Cup.
Euro 2020 will essentially be played on home soil with England likely to play all-but two of their games away from Wembley if they go all the way to the final on July 12.
Kane insists that has to be the aim moving forward and says lessons must be learned from their shortcomings against Holland – where defensive errors played a big part in England’s elimination.
“It is important we learn from it for the qualifiers and of course the summer next year,” he said of the result in Guimaraes.
“We will take it on the chin as a team and we move on. We have got big things coming up as a nation. The chance to play in pretty much a home tournament is a great inspiration for all of us.
“To be honest, it would have been easy to take your foot off the gas after last summer and be happy with what we achieved but we got to the semi-final of the best 12 in Europe.
“We had a tough group with Spain and Croatia and we got through that – and that was progression.
“Of course it hurts again to lose in another semi-final like this but we are knocking on the door and that is what we have got to take inspiration from and with a big, big summer next year of course a lot can happen form now to then but as a team I feel we are building well towards that.
“That is the challenge now. We won’t know until we get there of course but we have got to use these big games and big disappointments to motivate and help us learn.
“We are a young team but all of us now are playing in big games for club and country so it is a good sign where the nation is going but of course in those big moments it is down to us to progress and find a way to win and, we have got to qualify first, but that will hopefully be our challenge next year.”