Mason Mount insists he is not a ‘teacher’s pet’ for club or country and will not let persistent scrutiny affect his form.
The midfielder is highly regarded by Chelsea boss Frank Lampard, who has started him in all bar one of his side’s Premier League games this season.
England manager Gareth Southgate is a fan and chose Mount ahead of Jack Grealish for last month’s Nations League games against Belgium and Denmark.
It has led to Mount, 21, having to deal with accusations that he benefits from favouritism. But he is not paying attention to online criticism and is looking to cement his position in the side against the Republic of Ireland, Belgium and Iceland.
‘I know it’s big in football now, especially when the fans are not at the stadium, but it doesn’t really bother me too much. The main focus for me is on what I’m doing on the pitch.
‘I’m trying to be the best I can and blocking out everything else that comes with it.
‘I’m a player who wants to do their best for the team and work hard. And maybe people take that the wrong way.
‘When you join England, you’re with world-class players and you want to do the best to show what you can do.
‘I’m very headstrong and don’t really let too many things get to me. Frank lets me deal with it myself which is the best thing.’
Southgate is expected to play an experimental team against Ireland on Thursday, which will include Mount’s Chelsea team-mate Reece James before he serves a two-match ban.
One member of Ireland’s squad has tested positive for Covid-19. The FAI confirmed on Tuesday that he is asymptomatic and is isolating from the rest of the squad, as is standard practice.