Mason Mount is in line to make his England Under-21s debut on Thursday night – and the Chelsea youngster is already setting his sights on becoming the nation’s next Frank Lampard.
The highly-rated 19-year-old trained with Gareth Southgate’s senior squad ahead of the World Cup and is considered a fine prospect by the England manager.
Having spent last season on loan at Eredivisie side Vitesse, Mount opted to join Lampard’s Derby for the current campaign as he hones his skills in the Sky Bet Championship.
Mount turned down further opportunities in Europe to move to Pride Park and is already setting himself some lofty goals.
Asked if he saw himself scoring Premier League goals on the same basis as Lampard and former England captain Steven Gerrard, Mount replied: “That is the goal. That is where I want to end up.
“I got 14 last season in the Dutch league and started off with four this season so I just want to keep working hard in that part of my game – score goals and continue to be a threat going forward.
“There were options in Germany or I could have gone back to Holland but I think, for me, I went away and wanted to come back and show what I can do.
“I wanted to test myself in the Championship. People say it is one of the toughest leagues in the world and you are playing so much, I just wanted to test myself.”
It was an impressive stint in Holland which led to Mason receiving a call to join Southgate’s squad before the World Cup – even if Mount admits it all felt like a dream.
“It was like 11:30 at night, a couple of days before a game and I got a call from my Under-19s manager and I didn’t answer it because I was about to go to sleep,” he said.
“Then I got a call from the Academy manager at Chelsea and thought ‘I wonder what is going on here, something must be happening’.
“So I called my Dad and asked if he knew anything, he said no and told me to call them back so I called my England Under-19s manager back.
“He said ‘Gareth Southgate wants you to come in and train for four days before the start of the World Cup.’ It was quite a surreal thing to hear and I couldn’t believe it at first.”
Mount said Lampard played a massive part in his decision to join Derby on loan for the campaign and has already started offering advice on how he can improve.
England Under-21s boss Aidy Boothroyd will be the next man to work with Mount.
Boothroyd revealed he got the nod for the upcoming European Championship qualifiers over the likes of Manchester City’s Phil Foden and Jadon Sancho of Borussia Dortmund because of the minutes he is racking up under Lampard.
“The big thing for Mason is that he is playing regularly,” Boothroyd said.
“He’s not just a starter, he is finishing games too. He is scoring goals and creating goals. There is no doubt that Phil and Jadon are huge talents. But that is where it is. It does work.
“With us, it is joined up. I will have conversations with Dan (Ashworth), Matt Crocker, Gareth, Paul Simpson and Keith Downing as a group.
“We talk and discuss and decide whether it is the right time or not. There is a great example of two players and you think ‘I’m really excited about working with them’ but they are not quite ready.
“They are not where Mason is at – he is a year older, he’s had a couple of years more different experiences. It’s difficult picking a squad.”