Ipswich Town defender Paul Digby says facing the likes of Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge prepared him for life in the Championship.
The 21-year-old, who is on loan from Barnsley at Portman Road, made his first start for Ipswich last Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Middlesbrough.
The England Under-20 player says helping at senior training with Roy Hodgson’s men has helped him.
“They needed some lads to go in and make the numbers up,” he said.
“It was an unbelievable experience, so inspiring. I was up against Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge, Danny Welbeck, it was an amazing experience just seeing how the best in the country do it.”
Digby, who had a trial with Manchester United last summer, came up through Barnsley’s youth ranks with Everton and England defender John Stones.
“I got injured a lot, but he was different class, he was unbelievable when he came into the first team and improved so much,” said Digby.
“I’m not surprised he’s had £40m bids in for him, he is top, top drawer.”
Ipswich’s chances of making the play-offs have been ended by a run of just one win in their last 10 league games, but despite that Digby says he is relishing his time at the Suffolk club.
“I love it here, the boys are class, the staff are class, I feel like I’m learning and improving every day, which as a footballer you want to do.
“The gaffer’s been brilliant, he’s been putting a lot of time and effort into me,” he added.
“Because I’ve not been playing week in, week out, him and Terry Connor have been brilliant with me, pushing me extra hard in training and after training, keeping my standards high, so when I do come into a game I’m ready for it and prepared for it.
“The gaffer was such a great centre-half, I’ve got such a great mentor there to learn off, and I’m just trying to be like a sponge and take as much off him as I can.”