After signing a new long-term Chelsea contract today, Mason Mount believes exciting times lie ahead for him at Stamford Bridge.
The 20-year old has agreed a new five-year deal following an impressive 2018/19 season on loan in the Championship at Derby County and now travels with the squad on our pre-season trip to Japan.
Since returning to the Blues for pre-season, the midfielder has reunited with Frank Lampard, his boss last term at Pride Park, and he believes working closely again with the man he describes as ‘my idol’ will stand him in good stead as he looks to make the breakthrough into the Chelsea team.
Mount’s summer campaign started perfectly with a goal against St Patrick’s in Dublin on Saturday afternoon and he capped a memorable week by committing his future to his boyhood club until at least 2024.
‘It’s a massively proud moment for myself and my family,’ he said after signing the contract. ‘I joined this club at six years old and it was always my goal to play for the first team one day. Even though I went out on loan for two years, my goal was always to come back and play - my mind has never really moved from that.
‘I’m really looking forward to the coming season now and working hard to have an impact here at Chelsea. I’ve been at the club for a long time already and hopefully I’ll stay for a long time to come.’
The England Under-21 international believes it is the perfect time to be a young player at Stamford Bridge, with Lampard joined on his backroom team by former Chelsea Academy coaches Jody Morris, Joe Edwards and Eddie Newton.
‘Young boys feel like there’s a pathway here and that they’re going to get a chance, which gives us confidence to train with the first team, try to get into the team and work hard to be involved,’ he continued.
‘That’s my goal for this season – I want to fight for my position and having 80 games under my belt over the last two years has given me a really good platform coming back. It’s really exciting times at the moment.’
The performances and impact of Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Andreas Christensen in the men’s first team last season is another encouraging sign for those youngsters looking to make the breakthrough in west London. Lampard has committed to trusting the younger players in his squad but the boss has also made it clear that opportunities must be earned, a challenge Mount is eager to take on.
‘I watched Callum and Ruben come through last season, playing games and scoring goals, and it was very pleasing for me to see them doing so well,’ he explained. ‘It’s exciting to come back and think I can do the same as them. They stepped up when they had the chance and now I’m going to work as hard as I can trying to repeat what they did.’
The relationship between Mount and Lampard, protégé and mentor, is a fascinating one for Chelsea fans. With numerous options for his second loan experience after a positive season in the Eredivisie with Vitesse Arnhem in 2017/18, Mount opted for the English second tier in order to link up with a man he had watched closely and admired throughout his playing career.
The midfielder was an integral part of the way Lampard’s Derby played, pressing from the front with intelligence and industry, while also demonstrating guile and quality on the ball. He only turned 20 midway through the season but finished with 16 goals and assists combined as the Rams fell 90 minutes short of promotion to the Premier League. Tellingly, his injury absence through February and March coincided with Derby winning just two of 10 matches.
‘Joining Chelsea at the age of six, Frank was always my idol,’ continued Mount. ‘He was a Chelsea player and an attacking midfielder like me so I always looked up to him. Being with him at Derby was the best thing for me because I couldn’t have anyone else better to learn from day-in, day-out.
‘It was a brilliant year for me in that sense and now coming back to Chelsea and him coming back as well, it’s obviously perfect timing.’
Mount’s season working under Lampard, as well as returning assistants Morris and Chris Jones, gives him a greater insight into how our new head coach works and what he demands from his players. He expects a similar approach and a high-intensity game played on the front foot.
‘We want to play attacking football, we want to press and then to win the ball back as quickly as we can when we lose it,’ he said. ‘That’s the way Frank wants to play and it can work really well, like we saw last season at Derby. There’s a lot of running and hard work involved in that so we’ve started working towards it in pre-season and all the boys have bought into it.’
Lampard has also spoken in the days since his appointment as our new boss of his players ‘feeling the shirt’ and showing that passion every time they step on to the pitch. For a young man like Mount, who has strived for most of his life to play for Chelsea, that comes naturally and it is a feeling he wants to experience as much as possible in the coming years.
‘Every time I put on the Chelsea shirt, whether in training or a game, it’s a massive honour for me,’ he explained. ‘When you’ve been at a club for such a long time and you get to put that shirt on, there’s no other feeling apart from you want to just go out and give it your all. That’s something I’m really looking forward to.
‘The team is unbelievable and there’s some world-class players in the dressing room so the best thing for me at the moment is to learn from them as much as I can. I want to play as many games as I can for Chelsea. I want to score as many goals, get as many assists and work as hard as I can to do that.’