Ambitious Mason Holgate has revealed how he is continually seeking out advice from the wealth of experienced players at Everton to continue his progress.
The England Under-21 international has occupied three different positions in his four Premier League appearances for the Blues this season.
He operated as a wing-back in games at Manchester City and Chelsea, played as an orthodox right-back on the trip to Brighton & Hove Albion, and against Bournemouth at Goodison Park was deployed in the centre of defence.
Holgate has also featured in all four Europa League group matches, with his outings divided equally between roles in the middle and on the right of Everton’s back four.
And the former Barnsley player has sought the counsel of the likes of Leighton Baines, Phil Jagielka and Ashley Williams in a bid to accelerate his personal development.
“When I am playing at full-back I will try to understand the role a lot more, so I will go and speak to Leighton,” Holgate told evertonfc.com. “He helps me out a lot.
“And when I am at centre-back, I speak to Ash and Jags, and they can pass on their advice having played so many games there.
“When you have players like that around you, it is best as a young person to go and speak to them… that is the best thing to do. And having people like that playing alongside you makes it a lot easier on the pitch, because they are talking you through the game.
“You know that is coming from their experience, so when they tell you to do something, you want to do it.
"It opens your eyes, and the next time you can see it yourself. It is a great thing to have.”
Holgate’s chance to play at the heart of Everton’s rearguard in the Premier League saw him pitted into battle with streetwise Bournemouth front pair Jermain Defoe and Joshua King.
Against Lyon earlier this month he was confronted by the pace, skill and thrust of former Chelsea striker Bertrand Traore.
Holgate did not seek to alter his approach against such a talented array of direct opponents, instead trusting the game which saw him climb from League One with Barnsley to playing for Everton in the Premier League inside 15 heady months.
“I like to step in, make interceptions, get on the ball and try to play out from the back,” said Holgate, who signed for the Blues in summer 2015 and made his top-flight debut against Tottenham Hotspur on the opening day of 2016/17.
“That is the way I have been coached growing up and it is my style of play.
“It (playing centre-half) has been a test but when you play first-team football at this level you expect that.
“I think with a run of games I would settle into it comfortably and do okay.”
Holgate bucks a trend among many of his contemporaries, who prefer to be recognised as a specialist in one position.
The 21-year-old embraces the chance to sample an assortment of roles. What’s more, even in his downtime, Holgate seeks out opportunities to enhance his football education.
He added: “I have always watched a lot of football and still do now.
“I look at people in my position, and have always studied players in similar positions to me. I try to pick up and learn things from them.
“Whichever game is on, I will watch what the players in my position do – see the good things, and also pick out what I think has not worked, then apply that information myself.
“I think it is good for me to experience playing in different positions. I am happy to play anywhere, as long as I am playing, and it helps me develop my understanding of the game.
“Whichever position I end up in, this experience will help me a lot, because I am seeing what is expected from the other players on the pitch.”
Mason Holgate is sporting the new Athleisure range, available at Everton One, Everton Two and evertondirect.com