Liverpool striker Danny Ings says it will be “difficult” to make the England squad for Euro 2016, but says he has always backed himself to succeed.
The 23-year-old is set to join up with the England senior squad for the first time this week but intends to take it all in his stride.
Since making a summer switch from Burnley to Liverpool the spotlight has intensified on Ings but he has responded in the perfect way with three goals in his last five matches and that focus on him has actually worked to his advantage after a call-up from Roy Hodgson.
“My biggest competition has always been myself, how I develop and how I learn,” he said.
“That is how I have been at any level, whether it was semi-pro at Dorchester Town or here at Liverpool.
“I set myself targets. The mentality doesn’t change.
“I’m not one to look at the outside and take all that in. It is all about me and how I work but if you are in the spotlight, you have to get used to it.
“When you are doing well, a lot of people will recognise it; when you are not doing well, again people will recognise it.
“It is how you deal with it and control your mentality. I just come in every day and be the best I can be.”
Ings went to the UEFA Under-21 Championship in the Czech Republic this summer and his call-up to the seniors came almost two years after he was first picked by Gareth Southgate for the under-21s.
But when asked whether he would have predicted his progress in the three months since signing, he added: “I would have said ‘You never know’.
“I will always back myself to achieve what I can achieve. It is all down to me.
“There have been different stepping stones along the way and it has been great.
“Every time I get that next bit higher, I work that little bit harder to get the next one. That has always been my mentality.
“This is another massive moment in my career and another marginal gain.
“Things like this give me great confidence moving forward. It is something I am going to build on, go there and enjoy it with top, top players.”
With Euro 2016 just over eight months away, does Ings think he has a chance to make the squad for his first senior tournament?
“It is difficult but that is what you go for,” he said.
“It is an opportunity. I have got that call and I now need to improve every day to be around it, for as long as I can.”