Josh Green is in buoyant mood after his maiden international experience abroad.
The Horndean talent helped England to a fourth-place finish in the North European Volleyball Zonal Association Under-17 Championship in Ikast, Denmark earlier this month.
They came agonisingly close to winning bronze, but England were defeated by Finland in the third-place play-off.
Despite suffering heartbreak, Green – who plays in a setter role for New Forest – relished the experience.
It proved to be a valuable learning curve playing against countries who have greater volleyball pedigrees.
Green said: ‘It was a really good experience in Denmark.
‘I have played in the School Games five times for England before that but that was my first experience playing abroad.
‘Finland were a lot bigger and stronger than us.
‘They didn’t particularly move the ball around too much but kept things simple and were physically much better.
‘Then Sweden were just another level compared to us.
‘The amount of training we get is nowhere near their schedules.’
England finished second in group B in Denmark, meaning they went on to play a quarter-final clash against the Faroe Islands.
Despite going two sets down, they showed great resilience to fight back and record a 3-2 success.
That set up a semi-final tie against eventual-champions Sweden, which England lost 3-0 .
They went into a bronze medal decider against Finland and took the first set.
Despite England being on the verge of almost winning the second, Finland stepped up their game and they battled back to level things up before going on to wrap up the game 3-1.
Green said: ‘We went into the Faroe Islands game thinking it was going to be easy and underestimated them.
‘They hit us pretty hard in the first set and our heads went down in the second.
‘Eventually we sorted ourselves out and played our game – we didn’t expect them to be as good as they were.
‘Finland had the same mindset as us against the Faroe Islands and didn’t think we would as good as we are.’
The South Downs College student, who previously attended Horndean Technology College, is now a regular in the New Forest side despite being a junior.
The team play in National Volleyball League south division two.
Green believes the international experience has been a great benefit to him this season.
‘Last season, I played about half of the first-team matches and now I’m a regular this campaign,’ he added.
‘I can’t wait to get back to playing international competitions with England again.’