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Aaron Lennon refusing to sulk as he forces his way back into Everton plans

Ronald Koeman was pleased with his side's response
Image: Aaron Lennon is looking to force his way back into Ronald Koeman's plans

Aaron Lennon admits he was frustrated after being dropped by Everton, but is refusing to sulk as he tries to force his way back into the plans of both club and country.

The England winger completed 90 minutes of a Premier League game for the first time this season in last week's 2-1 win over Arsenal and repeated the feat in Monday's Merseyside derby defeat against Liverpool.

Lennon said it was difficult being benched by new Everton boss Ronald Koeman at the start of the season, but insists he has learned from the mistakes of his youth and approached the challenge positively.

"I want to play every game but a new manager comes in and decides he wants to play a new formation or different player then you have to accept it," he said in an exclusive interview with Sky Sports News HQ.

"I'm at that age where I know sulking is not going to benefit me and I'll just work as hard as I can on the training pitch and wait for my time.

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Watch highlights of Everton 2-1 Arsenal

"I've got older and wiser and noticed [sulking] didn't help me when I've done it in the past as a young kid. You see other players it's not benefited as well.

"It's not going to help me and not going to help the team, so I try and train and keep a positive attitude."

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And when asked if he wants to force his way into the plans of new England manager Gareth Southgate, he added: "I've not written it off at all. I still have the ability to play at that level. If I get a run of games I don't see why I couldn't break back into that side."

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Lennon, who joined Everton from Tottenham in 2015, has faced increased competition this year following the arrival of Yannick Bolasie from Crystal Palace for a club record fee.

With Bolasie set to miss the rest of the season with a knee ligament injury, Koeman has been linked with a move for Manchester United's Memphis Depay, but Lennon says transfer talk doesn't bother him.

"That doesn't affect me and never has," he added.

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"Speculation has never bothered me and them signing Yannick Bolasie didn't faze me. There is competition in all the top clubs and Everton's a massive club now.

"I've been at Spurs in the past and am used to two or three wingers or maybe four in each club. You've got to fight for your position and I'm confident in my ability.

"You bide your time and if you get your chance you've got to take it."

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 13:  (L-R) Francis Coquelin of Arsenal and Aaron Lennon of Everton compete for the ball during the Premier League match betwe
Image: Lennon has played the full 90 minutes in Everton's last two games against Arsenal and Liverpool

Lennon has benefited from the devastating injury to Bolasie, but admits he wasn't happy to see his team-mate suffer such a major blow.

"No-one wants to see anyone get those injuries," he said.

"Yannick is a top lad. I knew him before and he's always positive and great to be around. He is a top player and I think he was just finding his feet here as well.

"It was tough for him after moving and getting used to the way we play. It's so disappointing for him, but he will bounce back strong.

Yannick Bolasie is treated during the draw with Manchester United
Image: Yannick Bolasie will miss the remainder of the season with a knee injury

"I suppose in a way (it's an opportunity), but that's football. Sometimes you have to wait for someone to get injured before the manager changes the team.

"I've managed to get a couple of games in recently. It's just a shame it has to be from that way."

Live Friday Night Football

See more from Sky Sports News HQ's exclusive interview with Aaron Lennon on Friday and don't miss Hull v Everton on Friday Night Football, December 30 on Sky Sports 1.

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