Mason Mount. What a great start to the season he has had.
Chelsea’s academy graduate, on loan at Derby County last season, has already emerged as a key member of the first team under new Head Coach Frank Lampard. He was an influential player in Derby County’s journey to the EFL Championship play-off final last season, a game which they narrowly lost to Aston Villa, and has since stepped up seamlessly on his return to his parent (& boyhood) club.
There’s a whole lot of talk around Mount this season, both positive and negative, with Lampard’s relationship with the midfielder drawing parallels with former manager Maurizio Sarri and his love of Jorginho. So is Mount worth the hype or should we take caution and not get excited just yet?
Realistically it’s a bit of both, but there have absolutely been promising signs from the 20-year-old in his very young Chelsea career.
One of the most impressive things about Mount’s game is his goalscoring ability, with back-to-back goals against Leicester City and Norwich City. Along with his impressive cameo against Liverpool in the UEFA Super Cup, Mount earned himself him a call-up to the England senior squad, alongside fellow team-mate Ross Barkley.
The goals he scored were equally impressive but yet so different, proving he can score all types of goals from midfield. Against Leicester, he showcased his incredible energy and pressing to dispossess Wilfried Ndidi, and score past Kasper Schmeichel, despite being off-balance as he took the shot.
Whilst against Norwich, it was his linkup and intelligence that was most impressive. He’d noticed that Max Aarons, the young Canaries full-back, had gone forward, so Mount stayed up the pitch. He then combined with Christian Pulisic before taking Grant Hanley out of the game by cutting inside and unleashing an early shot past Tim Krul.
Even going back into pre-season, his delicate finish against Irish side St Patrick’s Athletic or his strike from just inside the box against Reading, proved once again not only his ability to score, but his ability to score all types of goals, something that has been missing from Chelsea’s midfield for a long time. With Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s return from his ruptured achilles tendon injury likely to be in around in the next couple of months, Chelsea will finally have two goalscoring midfielders that both the club and the fans have craved for.
Since Lampard took over earlier in the summer, he’s talked a lot about mentality and having the desire to play for the club. He wants players who want to be here and for him, Mount epitomises everything he looks for in that regard.
Every time I think about Mount’s mentality, I think back to something his Dad said in an interview…
‘I said, “No one at Chelsea’s academy has got into the first-team since John Terry – what chance have you got?” Mason shot back, “I’ll be the next one.” He said, “I’m not leaving Chelsea, it’s my club. I’ve been here since the age of six and I’m going all the way.”’– Tony Mount
If that doesn’t show you the head Mason Mount has on his shoulders, then nothing will. He’s always believed he’ll make it here, not in a cocky or arrogant way but with confidence in his ability and a determination to play for his boyhood team. Now that’s a reality, but he continues to push himself and try to improve. Similarly to Lampard during his playing days, Mount is always out after training, often alongside Tammy Abraham working on aspects to improve in his game.
There’s an old interview from Lampard back in playing days at SW6, where he talks about working after training on parts of your game that are really important to the way you play. Without that practice he said your level tends to drop off, mentioning shooting as particularly key. We’re seeing Mount learning off of Lampard in that regard, another big part of him as a person. Many people who’ve worked with Mount say he’s like a sponge, always soaking up and taking on board what anyone has to say. He’s extremely down to earth with his focus on improving his game and becoming the best player he can be.
Who wouldn’t want that kind of character in their squad?
It’s very clear that Mount has had a very promising start to life at Chelsea. He has the desire and the mentality to get to the top, and his performances suggest he has the quality too. So should we be hyping him up?
I think it’s a case of just letting him develop. He’s shown good signs so far and you certainly can’t criticise him too much as of yet. But until he performs consistently, notably against the top teams, you can’t say with absolute certainty that he’ll be a massive player for the Blues for the next decade or so.
I think we’re absolutely right to be excited about him. I certainly am and he’s definitely proven a lot of his doubters wrong. But to fully convince his harshest of critics, he’ll need that consistency and big-game performances.
I’m sure, as he continues to get minutes under Lampard, that will come. So for now, let’s enjoy his performances, and hope that he becomes the player that many of us think he can be.