I, @acparee, got the opportunity to interview the father of academy prospect Mason Mount who is now working under Frank Lampard at Derby. Here’s how it went…
Q. Since Mason has been at Chelsea from the age of 6, as a parent have you always believed that he would make it later on?
No, you can’t look a boy at the age and think they’re going to make it. He stood out in his school team and sunday league team for various reasons, touch and ability. I never thought at that age that he would make it and any parent who says so is wrong.When he went to Chelsea, he was in amongst a lot of very good boys and when I saw them play at 6,7,8 and thought they were going to make because they were exceptionally good.
Q. How often did you visit matches when he was playing?
Everything. Between the trainings three times a week and every home and away game on a Sunday morning!
Q. What’s your opinon on the Chelsea Youth system?
It’s exceptional. The reasons we were happy for Mason to go there [Chelsea] were because the standards were so high and [it was a different level to Portsmouth]. Coaching was on a different level, quality of boys on a different level, and over the years since he’s been at the academy he’s played all over Europe, in tournaments from the age of 9 until 16. [These provide] an unbelievable vast experience. The structure, the setup and the facilities and more importantly than anything the quality of the coaches throughout are top drawer and the coaching sessions are phenomenal.
Q. Do you personally think talented youth players like Mount deserve the chance to break into Chelsea initially or the first couple loans good?
I look at other clubs and boys come through, top clubs as well like Manchester United. For me a boy joins a club and if he makes the grade he should be given an opportunity. Saying that, football has changed and football is a business and the standards of the Premier League have got higher. Also, managers are under a lot more pressure so I get that players having to go out on loan to get experience. So my son grabbed the opportunity with both hands when that opportunity came along.
Q. Do you see Mount as a number 8 or a number 10?
Mason has played 8 and 10 all the way through his career. For example, last year he played as the number 10 where in Holland and he totally exploited it- he got 14 goals and 10 assists and played exceptionally well. He has played 10 for England at every age group. At Derby, it’s another learning curve, Frank is playing him in the number 8 role but in a different game and in a different formation and it’s adding to his game and learning about the defensive side- the closing down, the tracking, the man-to-man. Mason cam play anywhere across the midfield.
This next part is certainly something which will be very surprising to fans and very interesting.
I personally as a dad like him as the second striker because I think he’s got an eye for the goal. That’s what he did last year- when the team had the possession he worked along the second striker and off the ball he’s always prepared to work in the midfield. [Tony did say not as a lone number 9].
Q. How often are you talking to Mason?
I speak to Mason nearly every day because at the end of the day I’m a football person so I’m interested in his training, his life on the pitch as well as off the pitch. Off the pitch, he’s fine, perfect. He’s very level-headed and grounded and has to be dedicated.That’s always been the way from a very young age.
Q. How is Mason finding working under Lampard and how has he improved his game?
He loves it. He’s really enjoying the loan at Derby. He really enjoys working under Jody Morris who he’s got experience under when they won the FA Youth Cup. He jumped to the opportunity to work with a legend like Frank Lampard, being one of the best number 8’s in the world. Every day Mason says to me it’s about watching, looking, listening and learning and he’s thoroughly enjoying it. Frank’s adding to Mason’s game in different areas, it’s not only the experience and playing in a very competitive strong league, but also developing and learning.
Q. Do you know how long Mason is out for?
Originally the diagnosis was 4-6 weeks, it’s been two weeks and he’s back running and he had a positive scan last week. I think it’ll be another 7-10 days.
For me, this upcoming part is the best part of the interview and the most important.
Q. Does he feel he has a genuine chance to make it at Chelsea?
He does. He always has. He mentally believes that given the opportunity he will take it.[I mentioned to him about Mason saying he would be the next academy prospect after Terry]. He was quite young when he said that. He said it as if to slap me down! I was being realistic and the academy is the best but it starts approaching the nitty gritty side of scholarships and professional contracts and i was aware of the history of academy players making it at Chelsea was not that good. But, Mason believes in it wholeheartedly and has done the whole time.
To conclude, it is clear that Mason Mount has set up his career, and we need players like him, who know the value of playing for the Chelsea shirt. A big thank you to Tony Mount who gave up his spare time for this interview!