LAST week, the 30-man shortlist for the Ballon d’Or was announced. Unsurprisingly, it contained some familiar names. Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Robert Lewandowski, Neymar. No one would dispute the claims of that quartet.

There were also four England internationals on the list. Harry Kane’s nomination was to be expected on the weight of his goals alone. Raheem Sterling was England’s stand-out performer as they made the final of Euro 2020. Phil Foden has had a stellar breakthrough year with Manchester City, and showcased his abundant talent once again as England thrashed Andorra last Friday.

The fourth England player selected might be more of a surprise though. Mason Mount rarely hogs the headlines at international level, and tends to be eclipsed by a number of his more illustrious team-mates on the club stage at Chelsea. Speak to those who play alongside or manage him, though, and the 22-year-old’s status as one of the world’s best players is never questioned.

Quiet and unassuming, Mount is not the type to shout his talents from the rooftops. Yet as he prepares to win his 26th international cap this evening, there is no doubt that England are fortunate to have him.

“Do I fancy my chances?” said Mount, when asked about his prospects of actually winning the Ballon d’Or. “I doubt it, but you never know! It’s just special to be on that list.

“I probably found out at exactly the same time as everybody else. To see that, and to be alongside all the names on there, it’s a dream. I think for all the years you work hard and dedicate yourself, to see something like that just shows that everything pays off.

“It’s just the start for me though, it doesn’t stop now. The most important thing for me is that I continue trying to hit the levels that I’ve set before and go even further. That’s always been my mentality, and hopefully that continues.”

Mount’s next test will come against Hungary this evening, with England hoping to follow up last month’s 4-0 success in Budapest with another convincing victory.

England’s players had to overcome an extremely hostile atmosphere in the Puskas Arena at the start of last month, not to mention some unpalatable racial abuse, but Mount feels coping with such a challenging environment helped bring Gareth Southgate’s squad even closer together.

“To be in an away game and have everyone against us, as a team you can thrive off that,” he said. “I think the way we played and the result we got in the end showed the confidence we had in ourselves as well as the togetherness we had throughout the game.

“It was difficult. We didn’t score in the first 45 minutes and found it difficult to create chances, but then we came out in the second half, got the goal, and then got three more after that. That experience we had out there definitely brought us together."