Fabian Delph says being part of England's World Cup adventure is the highlight of his career - and hopes this summer is just the beginning.
Few could have foreseen Gareth Southgate's men getting to the semi-finals in Russia, just as few would have predicted at the start of the season that the 28-year-old would be involved.
Yet Delph flourished for title-winning Manchester City as a makeshift left-back and has been one of the leaders of a group now preparing for today's third-place play-off against Belgium.
The disappointment not to be facing France in tomorrow's final is clear, as is the Yorkshireman's pride at the end of a campaign to remember.
"For me personally it's been a fantastic season," said Delph, who briefly returned home for the birth of his third daughter.
"I managed to play quite a lot of football and in a position that I've never played before, so it was a learning season. A very enjoyable one. I feel still like I have a lot of development to do, a lot of areas that I can work at.
"It's very important to be playing regular football because if not you lose your distances, your timing - you start to basically get older and fade away, so this season has been a great season for me personally.
"And to get into the World Cup squad's been the highlight of my career. I've thoroughly enjoyed it and I think when I get time to go home and sit down and talk to the family, there'll be a lot of memories that I'll keep close to my heart.
"Hopefully I can continue to keep playing in the Manchester City team and keep getting in the England squads."
Delph is set to start against Belgium in St Petersburg, when England can become the second-most successful team in the national side's history should they win.
"We've not quite done it but it's been a fantastic experience for me personally and I think it'll stand us in good stead for the future," he added.