Kurt Zouma expects to stay with Chelsea this summer, although he has told Frank Lampard that he must be playing first-team football.
Zouma impressed on loan at Everton last season, working his way into the France squad as a result.
And while the Toffees are keen on completing a permanent deal for the 24-year-old, Lampard has already made it clear that Zouma is part of his plans for the new campaign.
For his part, Zouma is fully aware that he faces competition to start at Stamford Bridge, although he not prepared to sit on the bench.
He said: “That is very important for me. It was one of my targets to get into the France team. I had been there before and wanted to come back.
“I managed to do that. Now the target is to play at the Euros – but to be there you have to be playing at your club. So I am working very hard.”
Zouma has spent the last two seasons out on loan, first at Stoke and then at Goodison Park, as he fought his way back to fitness after rupturing knee ligaments in 2016 and being sidelined for six months.
He was first called up by France back in 2015 but only made his first start in June against Andorra. He now has five caps to his name and wants to make up for lost time.
Lampard, who cannot sign players due to Chelsea’s transfer ban, has insisted he wants Zouma to stay: “I want him here, simple as that. I want him to be happy. If he competes and plays well this season, he plays.”
Zouma has welcomed Lampard’s comments, but is fully aware of how quickly things can change in football.
He added: “I’m happy with what the manager said about me. That means he is seeing the work I’m doing and I’m very pleased with that.
“We had a chat, and he was very good with me. He is a very good manager.
“I enjoyed my time at Everton but I’m a Chelsea player and we’ll see what will happens in the future. I think it will be here at Chelsea.
“This is a chance for me. I went out on loan last season but I’m a Chelsea player and I want to do well to get my chance and be here.”
“There is a lot of quality here. It depends on the manager. He can only play with two centre backs. He has to make the choice but he is lucky because he has good players. It will be hard for him to make that choice but that is what we’re here for.”
Get the latest personalised Blues products on our new TEAMtalk Chelsea shop!