Everton manager Frank Lampard believes Anthony Gordon’s best chance of making a late run into England’s World Cup squad is for him to concentrate on improving for the club.
After representing the under-21s this week the forward said he was “100 per cent focused” on securing a place in Gareth Southgate’s squad.
Lampard believes the only way to do that is to keep producing in the Premier League and he said any of his players who have expectations or aspirations of going to Qatar in November have to do the same.
“I know there is a lot of competition in that area of the pitch with England, there are a lot of quality players in there,” said Lampard of Gordon’s England ambitions.
“He just has to keep working on all parts of his game, not just the goals, which are a huge part of it, but there is a lot more for his game but it’s good he’s in the conversation, he just has to play.
“I don’t think you need to think about it, you just have to train and play every day, keep improving.
“He wants to improve and he just needs to focus on that and the rest will naturally come.”
The unprecedented situation of a World Cup taking place in the middle of a season may cause players to reconsider their priorities as the tournament gets closer.
But Lampard said it was essential they remained on track with their club.
“They are Everton players and in this period up until we play Bournemouth they just have to give everything for this team,” he added.
“We always try to do the same thing; we try to get the best environment and the best care for the players to get them into the best position to perform well and if they do that then come the World Cup they will be in good nick and ready to go.
“It’s really simple. We have to talk about it but for the players it is ‘play well, look after yourself and you will give yourself the best possible chance’.
“The good thing for us as a club was last year the international break came and not many players went to play for their country and now we have got a bigger group of players who are going and representing their countries in different ways, which is a plus for us as Everton.”
Lampard will have England number one Jordan Pickford back from a thigh injury for Saturday’s trip to Southampton, while striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin could finally make his first appearance of the season after a knee problem picked up on the eve of the opening weekend.
However, right-back Nathan Patterson may be out for longer than initially expected after a ankle injury with Scotland.
“I think the four to five week estimate is probably a bit positive from what our first thoughts were so, on that side of it, let’s hope we can get him back quickly,” said Lampard.