Care: England can catch All Blacks
2:55pm Wednesday 30th July 2014 in © Press Association 2014
Danny Care believes England possess the time and potential to bridge the gap on New Zealand before next year's home World Cup.
Hopes of claiming only a third All Blacks scalp on Kiwi soil were dashed by a 3-0 series whitewash that concluded with a harrowing 36-13 rout in the final Test.
It was an undeniable setback despite the fixture congestion that complicated team selection and England now have 12 months left to develop into a team capable of winning the World Cup.
New Zealand, their main rivals for the Webb Ellis trophy, are the first visitors to Twickenham this autumn and Care is convinced they can be caught before the tournament opens in September 2015.
"Results-wise the tour wasn't successful. We lost three out of three games and that's not good enough," the Harlequins scrum-half said.
"But we play them again in the autumn and we're on the right track.
"They're where we're aiming to get to and we have 12 games before the World Cup in which to get better.
"The younger lads are getting more experienced and this is an incredibly exciting time for us.
"In 12 months' time we will not be far away from New Zealand.
"This autumn we have four tough games that will give us a really good indication of where we're at."
Care has won 48 caps since making his debut in 2008 but missed out on selection for New Zealand in 2011, a disappointment that adds extra importance to the looming World Cup year.
"I'm unbelievably excited. I have waited a long time to be involved in a World Cup after sitting out the last one," he said.
"Hopefully I will be all right for this one. There's a long time to go but it will go quite quickly and it's massively exciting for us."
Care has made a full recovery from the shoulder injury that prevented him from playing in the third Test against New Zealand.
"It's fine now, but the timing of it was really annoying. I got it in my second training session of the tour. I was battling every day to try and get it right," he said.
"I ran across to do a grubber kick to Jonny May - a kick I'd normally do a hundred times - and completely missed the ball, tripped over and landed funnily on my shoulder.
"I'd fall over a thousand times in a year and it would be fine, but it was just this one time that I caught it wrong and it jarred at my AC joint.
"It was bit of a nightmare and hopefully I won't be doing that again anytime soon."