Mason Mount has played every minute of Chelsea’s season so far. Last season he was the highest appearance maker with 53 games out of a possible 55.
In our last Premier League outing before today’s game against Crystal Palace it was the 21-year-old who started to turn the tide as the Blues fought back from 3-0 down against West Brom to draw, by firing in an outstanding goal just before half-time.
Unfortunately, his most recent moment for Chelsea was when he missed a penalty in the shoot-out at Spurs in the Carabao Cup, but his manager Frank Lampard spoke of his support and belief in the player straight after that game.
Now the boss has discussed further the strengths he admires in the young midfielder, and why he has used him so much in the opening five games.
‘I have felt Mason’s qualities since he came and had a year with me at Derby,’ Lampard said.
‘Last season I relied on him a lot. When I came to the club at the start of last season I did a lot of work on how we could be good off the ball at the higher end of the pitch, and to be good off the ball in high and medium areas of the pitch you need triggers, you need people who are prepared to release a lot of energy and speed high up the pitch to win the ball back.
‘You also need quality on the ball and Mason has that. So in terms of relying on him last year, that is just the way the season panned out and at the start of the season now, when we have had a start with multiple quarantines through the group, new signings coming in with five days training, players that are injured, I have relied on Mason, on some of his qualities and his natural fitness in the early games.
‘He was a main factor in us getting back in the game at West Brom with his goal and his input. I rely on him a lot. I rely on lots of players within the group and with the size of the squad, we need players like Mason. We are fortunate to have players like Mason in the group who can offer so much.’
Lampard emphasised those thoughts do not mean Mount will continue to play 90 minutes every game, and given the quality and competition there is in the attacking positions, there might be games when he does not start or is not involved, but that won’t mean his opinion of the player has dropped.
In fact he agrees the level of Mount’s involvement at a club like Chelsea at such an age is exceptional, and there is more to come.
‘He should be very happy and proud with what he has done in the last year and the thing about Mason is he always wants to be better, and that is a pleasure to work with, and what I want to see is the competition that has arrived at the club around him, that it makes him raise his levels. Mason has a lot more levels to go up in the game.
‘Mason is a humble lad and has a real dream to play for Chelsea and the thing that makes him special is that he has attacked that dream with the talent he has and made it through pure hard work.
‘Last year when I didn’t have the opportunity to make changes to the squad, the injection of Mason and his energy and his youthful abilities was a big part, and now as we started the season we missed two of our wingers [Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic]. Kai Havertz came in with five days training before the first game and Timo Werner similarly is attacking a new league. Mason came back and he is naturally very fit and certainly that has helped us at the start of the season. As we go on things may change around that but Mason is going to be a big part of this squad.’
Lampard suggests that sometimes players with this sort of early career trajectory, homegrowns who become established quickly and make a large amount of appearances at a young age, can lead to questions about why they are playing so much, a point he makes with a hint to his own experiences.
‘I do understand the situation and what will overcome everything is Mason’s talent and attitude.
‘He has a faultless attitude in terms of how he approaches the game, and that is what has got him into this position so far. He gets picked regularly in the England squad because I know Gareth Southgate and Steve Holland have absolute respect for how he comes and trains and performs for them. The last England game they played he came on and injected a lot into the performance in 30 minutes, which he has done for us many a time.’