Chelsea midfielder Mason Mount insists he is "loving every minute" after getting his first taste of first-team football at Chelsea during the opening weeks of the Premier League season.
Mount has started each of the Blues' first four league fixtures under Frank Lampard, scoring two goals in the process, with his performances earning him a call-up to the England squad.
The 20-year-old has been with Chelsea since the age of eight, and is one of a number of academy graduates who are set to be given additional responsibility in Lampard's new-look team.
And Mount has revealed how much he has enjoyed his integration into the starting line up despite the west London outfit picking up just one win in the opening month of the campaign.
"Before the season even started it was an exciting time for the academy boys because there was maybe a chance that was going to arise," Mount told Chelsea's matchday programme. "We are loving it at the moment, and we are just working hard, getting our heads down.
"It is a very hard step because you look at the squad and how many world-class players there are here. For me, training with them every day, working under the gaffer, learning all the time, is the best thing for me.
"I am obviously learning and loving every minute of being with the first team, working really hard, but in the back of my mind, I am always pinching myself because this is what I have wanted my whole life and this is what I worked for.
"I think it means so much more when you have been here for all those years, working hard every single year, to get to the first team. That has always been my goal and every single coach I have worked with through the years helped me, so it’s not just me making that step to the first team, it’s for all the manager I have worked with. It was a very special moment."
Mount enjoyed two successful spells on loan at Chelsea's unofficial Dutch feeder club Vitesse before playing under Lampard and assistant coach Jody Morris at Derby County last season.
Morris, who previously coached Mount as Chelsea's Under-18s manager, followed Lampard back to Stamford Bridge this summer, and he admitted he was thrilled with the likes of Mount and Tammy Abraham's performances, with the latter having scored four goals in as many league games so far this term.
"It is special," Morris said in the Chelsea programme ahead of Sheffield United. "I have said it many times in my time here. There is nothing I want to see more at this football club than people from the academy building coming over to the first team and being a success.
"Now, it is far from being mission accomplished, but the four goals we have scored so far in this Premier League season have come from academy boys.
"To see Tammy and Mason on the scoresheet was extra special because they are a couple of players I have known since they were 14 or 15 years of age, and someone like Joe Edwards has known them since they were seven or eight.
"As a homegrown ex-player myself, I always want to see people getting that opportunity. Even if you take the transfer ban out of the equation, you are looking at a manager who wants to give youth a chance, but they know they have got to earn it and they won't be getting a leg-up for no reason.
"When they are playing at the level some of these young players are at, and showing what they are capable of in training, then you would be silly not to give them a chance."