Mason Mount became the latest Chelsea Academy graduate to make his senior England debut as he appeared off the bench in the Three Lions’ comfortable 4-0 victory over Bulgaria.
Mount, 20, follows current Blues Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Tammy Abraham and Callum Hudson-Odoi in debuting for England in the last two years under the stewardship of Gareth Southgate and our former assistant Steve Holland. Dominic Solanke, Nathaniel Chalobah and Jack Cork are former players who have also made that step since 2017.
At Wembley today Mount replaced Jordan Henderson midway through the second half, with England 3-0 up. He looked comfortable in the no.10 role behind Harry Kane, firing an early shot high and wide, and then when moved out to the left.
Ross Barkley played the full game as Southgate’s side cemented their position at the top of Group A in qualifying for next summer’s European Championship.
England dominated the first half against a Bulgaria outfit happy to sit behind the ball and try and counter. It was a tactic which did work on occasion as they created a couple of decent chances, both saved by Jordan Pickford.
Midway through the half Barkley started a slick England move on halfway with an exquisite pass to Raheem Sterling. His low centre was turned in by Kane but the offside flag was up.
However England did score a legitimate goal in the 24th minute and it was the Sterling-Kane combination at work again after Bulgaria were caught overplaying from a goal-kick.
Barkley, who took England’s corners, looked a threat throughout, with his skill and strength helping create space against a low Bulgaria block.
Pickford made a crucial save at the start of the second half and within 60 seconds England had punished the visitors as Marcus Rashford was brought down in the box. Kane emphatically converted the resulting penalty, and he then teed up Sterling for a close-range third.
Mount came on in the 67th minute and shortly afterwards Barkley played a through ball which Kane latched on to before being felled as he went to shoot. The striker completed his hat-trick from 12 yards.
When Kane went off for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mount moved to the left of the three behind the striker, from where he had a curling shot blocked, and Barkley went back into the no.10 role. He cutely teed up Rashford who should have added a late fifth for England, but it didn’t detract from a good evening’s work for the Three Lions – and another landmark moment for Chelsea and our Academy.
Later on Saturday night Olivier Giroud netted for France as they beat Albania.