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Mason Holgate exclusive interview: Everton defender explains why Frank Lampard has him believing again

Mason Holgate exclusive interview: Everton defender explains why Frank Lampard has him believing again

Watch West Ham vs Everton on Sunday, live on Sky Sports Premier League, from 1pm; kick-off at 2pm; Mason Holgate tells Sky Sports why he is so confident Everton can stay up, how Frank Lampard has lifted the squad since his arrival and why there is ‘nothing to fear’ against West Ham

Zinny Boswell

Frank Lampard has got Mason Holgate believing the good times are just around the corner for Everton as they prepare to face West Ham on Sunday, live on Sky Sports.

That may seem odd to some after just one win in their last five Premier League games and Everton only one place above the relegation zone, albeit having games in hand on their rivals.

But the centre-back has little doubt that Lampard can help steer the club to safety this season and onto new heights in the near future.

“We’re very confident of staying up,” Holgate tells Sky Sports ahead of Sunday’s trip to West Ham. “I think the gaffer now and the team that he’s brought in are unbelievable, I think everyone in the squad thinks that as well.

“I think it’s a difficult circumstance that he’s come into. But I think he’s a great manager, and I think we are all going to benefit from him and as the season comes on everyone is going to see that.

Lampard has started Holgate in nine of his 10 games in charge. But it was a completely different story under Rafael Benitez, who in his 23 games on Merseyside handed Holgate the same number of starts.

Holgate, who describes himself as a “ball-playing centre half”, has also been returned to his favoured position under Lampard – often on the right of a back three – after being used as a utility player in recent seasons.

“He’s made quite a big impact on me,” Holgate says of Lampard. “Just giving me the confidence of playing is something that’s massive for me personally.

“I think he and his staff are showing me what I need to be doing and improving. I want to be improving, I want to get better, and I want to help the team as much as I can.

“To be a part of the team and playing every week, shows the confidence he has in me, so I am wanting to repay that.”

The 25-year-old is fully aware of the situation he finds himself in less than two years after being considered by England manager Gareth Southgate in what was his best season at Everton.

But his mind is elsewhere now. “Since I’ve come back in the team, we are all fighting for something,” he says. “Everton needs to be the focus of everybody in the squad.

“I don’t think the time is right now to think about England, I think next season or maybe the season after, when the club gets going, that’s when I can start thinking about those things a bit more.

“I’m confident in what we are doing as a club, and I am confident in the team that we’ve got, and I’m sure that time is going to come. No one is going to rule out playing for England at 25 as a centre-back.

“We’re all fighting for a massive goal and once that comes next season hopefully we will get going and the manager will have a full season with us all. And then I have complete faith in my ability that that will come.”

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