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Everton assistant hails 'professional' Stones

Everton
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Holtby still thinking of England

Schalke midfielder Lewis Holtby says the Premier League remains in his thoughts as he enters the final year of his contract.

Germany Under-21 captain Holtby, who has an English father, is currently in talks over a new deal with Schalke but has been linked with a move away from the Bundesliga, having earlier revealed that he wants to play in the Premier League "one day".

Speaking to Kicker, the 21-year-old has now said: "England will always remain an issue for me, but that is still a long way off. I will be playing for Schalke for at least one more year and that's what I focus on."

Asked if he could picture himself playing for another club in Germany, he said: "I am with a top club right now. It is my dream to play for Schalke and to wear the No. 10 jersey here. Why should I transfer within the Bundesliga? I would not know where!"

Schalke finished third in the 2011-12 campaign and directly qualified for Champions League, but Holtby feels it would be difficult to catch Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund in the coming season.

"It makes no sense to talk about rankings right now. Bayern and Dortmund certainly will be on a very high level again," he said. "We want to try putting pressure on them like last season, but we are facing some competition."

Holtby trained individually with minor league coach Christian Titz during the summer break.

"I have always trained harder than requested by the clubs," he explained. "I am a young player and don't need to rest for four weeks. I'd go mad anyway. Specialised individual training was new to me but I have profited from it. I had looked at some of my weak points on DVD before. After all, I want to play on Champions League level this season."

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