Mason Holgate admits he cannot afford to think like a youngster as he bids to establish himself in the Everton defence.
The 20-year-old has made six appearances so far this season, playing at right-back and in his favoured central role for the Blues' two matches against Bournemouth and Limassol.
Covering for injured duo Phil Jagielka and Michael Keane, Holgate drew complimentary words from defensive colleague Ashley Williams after the 2-1 win against the Cherries.
Indeed, the Welshman was impressed by the former Barnsley defender's willingness to vocally direct his teammates despite his tender years. And that's a maturity Holgate knows he needs to keep to stay in Ronald Koeman's first-team plans.
“In that position you can’t be sat there thinking, 'I’m 20, he’s 33, I can’t speak',” admitted the youngster. “You need to know as a centre-half what’s going on around you.
“I wouldn’t feel confident in myself if I felt like people were carrying me because of my age. I feel like if I’m in that position, I’m going to do what I can for the team, to help everyone. If that’s by speaking on the pitch, that’s what I’ll do.
“When you’ve got people like Ashley [Williams] alongside you, it does make it a lot easier. When people like that are giving you advice, you feel a lot more comfortable, just because you know they’ve got that experience and they’ve seen it all before.”
Holgate has also been lifted by the performances of Jordan Pickford, his teammate for both club and country.
The defender knew the former Sunderland keeper even before his summer switch to Everton, having linked up with him with England’s Under-21 squad. He has been delighted to see Pickford show what he can do and has tipped his friend to establish himself as a regular in the senior Three Lions side.
“I said when he arrived what I thought of him as a keeper - he’s unbelievable,” Holgate added.
“We’re good friends now on and off the field, we spend a lot of time together away from the training ground playing golf and whatever and it’s good to have another friend here.
“I think he’s one of the best around in his position. I believe, in time, he’ll become England’s number one.”