Matt Dunham/Associated Press
He was largely disappointing at Brazil 2014, but with injuries and a lack of game time damaging his season last year, it was perhaps too much to ask for the Arsenal midfielder to be firing on all cylinders for his country this summer.
That said, he is an exceptional talent, and at 22, England should build the midfield around him playing off the attackers further forward.
At Euro 2012, Jordan Henderson was a surprise addition to the squad, benefiting from injuries elsewhere. At Brazil 2014 he was a starter and he did himself justice, adding pace to the deep-lying midfield position alongside Steven Gerrard.
He has more to learn and add to his game, but he will develop with this young England team and become a better player.
An outside shot already, the 19-year-old is beginning to get a reputation after loan spells with Watford and Middlesbrough. The Chelsea youth product is talented and has shown he can be dynamic playing in a defensive midfield role—an area where England are short on numbers.
In four years, he should have done enough to become a regular at Stamford Bridge, and if not, he will undoubtedly be playing Premier League football.
Were it not for his knee injury, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain would have had a major role to play at Brazil 2014. He is an energetic player, with plenty of pace and skill to frighten defenders, and will allow England to develop the attacking instincts we saw at the World Cup. Still only 20, he has a bright future ahead.
Similar to Luke Shaw, Ross Barkley's performance against Costa Rica has shown that he needs to be starting games for England. He will be 24 when the 2018 World Cup comes around and a better player for all he has experienced this summer.
This is a young England team and as the likes of Barkley mature, the Three Lions are going to take some beating.
He has burst onto the scene in the past couple of seasons and if the Liverpool winger continues in a similar vein, we may well be talking about him as one of the world's finest players.
Another player who will still be in his early 20s come Russia 2018, Sterling is going to be vital at the next World Cup and beyond.
The Tottenham Hotspur winger missed the World Cup through injury and would have deserved his place among Roy Hodgson's 23-man squad given his role in helping England qualify.
He brings natural width and his instincts as an out-and-out winger were missed in Brazil, with England guilty of playing too narrowly at times. He will be 26 at the next World Cup, so potentially has two more tournaments in him to make an impression for his country.
At 30, the Southampton midfielder could well be the oldest player in his position for England come 2018, and that's a major positive to consider for the Three Lions.
He impressed when given the chance in Brazil, and should his form continue, there's no reason why he will not be boarding the plane to Russia in four years time.