Chelsea midfielder Mason Mount says that he does not feel that he has let the pressure brought by his sudden elevation to the upper echelons of British football faze him as he eyes an England debut.
The 20-year-old, who plied his trade on loan with Debry County last season, returned to Stamford Bridge alongside manager Frank Lampard, who took the reins from Maurizio Sarri in charge of the Premier League heavyweights.
With the subsequent exit of some key names including Eden Hazard and a transfer ban restricting their own dealings during the window, the youngster has found himself swiftly promoted by the Blues legend to a regular fixture in the starting line-up as the club looks to build on last year's Europa League success.
Mount's early form has impressed fans and critics alike, and earned him a call-up for his country from national team boss Gareth Southgate, who has included him in his squad for the nation's upcoming European Championship qualifiers against Bulgaria and Kosovo.
Speaking to the Guardian, Mount revealed that he does his best not to be sidetracked by the weight of expectations around him, and that he feels he both him and his fellow youthful prospects in West London have earned their spot in Chelsea's team, even with their hands tied in the market.
“I don’t really look at that pressure," he stated. "I don’t really look at any other thing but focusing on how I perform, what I can do in the game.
“My family have always said: ‘Don’t worry about the pressure side.’ I’ve always stuck to that.
“I think [the transfer ban] maybe played a part but you’ve got to work hard to earn your starting place. All the boys have done that. The Premier League is definitely a big step up but you’ve got to be ready.”
On Lampard, Mount offered additional effusive praise of the man who helped nurture him at Pride Park last season, as the club upset the odds to reach the Championship play-off final, stating that the former midfielder is a superb teacher.
“After training he does one-on-one finishing work with me,” he added. “I talk to him every day, especially after games, on what I can do better and where I can make runs to get into the box. There is no better person to learn from than him.”
Before his spell in the Midlands with County, Mount spent the 2017-18 campaign on loan with Vitesse, and he credits the Dutch side for stregthening his resolve at a critical point in his development.
“It was tough at the start and for the first couple of months I wasn’t playing but it was the best step," he noted. "I learned so much and my mentality got so much stronger living away from my family.
"It was very, very tough but I would always say to any young player: ‘Go to Germany or wherever,’ because you gain so much experience from those international leagues.”
Mount's early form at Derby last season then earned him a surprise call into the England fold in October, for a pair of Nations League ties, and though he did not play in either game, he says that it has only helped to drive on his desire to represent the Three Lions.
“I didn’t leave disappointed at all after the Croatia and Spain games last season,” he stated. “It just gave me more fire to want to get into a future squad and play. That was my mindset. Having a taste of being around the place and the first team gave me that extra hunger.”