Wayne Rooney has praised Gareth Southgate's England team for delivering hope to the nation's long-suffering fans at the World Cup.
Amid little expectation in Russia, manager Southgate steered an inexperienced side to the semi-finals. After defeat to Croatia in the final four, the Three Lions went down 2-0 to Belgium to end up in fourth place - their best World Cup finish in 28 years.
The performance surpassed that achieved throughout former captain Rooney's 13-year international career, which was often marked by a tense relationship with supporters.
The former Manchester United and Everton man famously criticised England's travelling fans for booing the team after a 0-0 draw with Algeria at the 2010 World Cup, but believes 2018 has set the scene for a bright future.
"I think it was a great tournament for all the players, for Gareth Southgate, and a great tournament for England as a country, and for the fans," Rooney told reporters.
"I said two years ago this team is an exciting team with a lot of talent. Let's get behind them, support them.
"I think the English fans have done that and the players have given them a great performance in the tournament.
"It's a shame we didn't get to the final where anything can happen. But I think all the players can be proud, the manager and his staff can be proud. Hopefully they kick on from there in the next tournament."
The 32-year-old stepped off the bench in the 58th minute to deliver an assist for the second of Paul Arriola's brace.
"It was a great victory. I thought we played some fantastic football," he said. "It was a big night for the club opening the [new Audi Field] stadium and it was important to get the win.
"It has been easy [to adjust]. I'm enjoying it. It was a great atmosphere. People in the city have given me a lot of freedom to be me, which hasn't always been the case."