Mason Mount has spoken of his pride at seeing his decision to stay at Chelsea as a youngster justified, following an incredible breakthrough debut season for the Blues this term.
The midfielder, who joined our Academy aged six, has spoken about the time he was 14 and sat down to discuss his footballing future with his father.
At that age, many players were let go to continue their journey elsewhere – including Mount’s closest friend and current West Ham midfielder, Declan Rice – but our No19 has revealed that there wasn’t anywhere but Chelsea for him to consider continuing his education.
‘When I was 14 I was fortunate to be offered something and I was about to sign a new contract,’ said Mount. ‘But a few lads did leave.
‘When Dec left it did affect me a lot at the time. I knew as one of my closest friends that that wouldn’t be the end of him and he would work as hard as he could to get where he is.
‘My dad always had questions [about staying at Chelsea] because there weren’t all that many young players coming through into the first team. JT John Terry was the only one who really came through and had an unbelievable career.
‘I always believed that I would make it to the first team though, through hard work and determination and I didn’t let anybody get in the way of my focus, even my dad when he had questions.
‘I said, "I am going to stay here and work as hard as I can. I believe totally that I can make it to the first team and then go all the way."'
That’s certainly something the midfielder has done, after making his Premier League debut against Manchester United on the opening day and clocking over 50 appearances in all competitions for Frank Lampard’s side.
The England international, surely a contender for Player of the Season, has been a beacon of consistency for the Blues and believes, under Lampard, the future is bright at Stamford Bridge.
‘The gaffer has been there and done it,’ added Mason. ‘He knows when to put his arm around you and he knows when to tell you that you need to improve on something or look at this in your game and see where you can do better.
‘There are things we have to work on to get better but we are on the right path, we are driven to win trophies, to really step up our game. We have shown this season that we are capable of doing that.’