The midfielder looks at how Chelsea can bridge the gap on the continental stage and reflects on his burgeoning international career with England ahead of UEFA Nations League action tonight…
With such a quick turnaround between the end of last season and the beginning of the next one, the opportunities to rest and reflect have been limited for the Chelsea players.
It is one month since our Champions League exit in Germany and yet, in six days’ time, Frank Lampard will take his side down to the South Coast for the Premier League opener at Brighton.
For pretty much nine months straight, the football calendar will be relentless from that moment on, with barely a free midweek in the schedule as domestic, European and international football returns with interest.
Mason Mount proved himself to be one of the most durable members of the squad last term, featuring in more Premier League games than any other player, but even the 21-year-old is prepared to be severely tested from both a physical and mental perspective this campaign.
‘You have to be strong as a Premier League footballer because the intensity is totally different to any other league,’ says a young man who previously plied his trade in the Championship and the Eredivise in the Netherlands, in an interview with SPORTbible.
‘You've got to produce in every single game because you're playing against world-class players that are always going to make it hard for you. I've learned so much from last season, more mentally than physical, because you've always got to be focused and on it and it's tough at times.’
Chelsea’s most recent competitive outings were among the low points of the 2019/20 season, defeat in the FA Cup final followed by a loss in Munich that ultimately went down as a 7-1 aggregate reverse. Mount feels the two legs against the eventual European champions demonstrated the work Chelsea need to do in order to bridge the gap.
‘The Champions League is on another level,’ he explains. ‘The games feel different. Bayern have some unbelievable world-class players like [Robert] Lewandowski, [Joshua] Kimmich and Thiago [Alcantara] in midfield - I just couldn't get near him!
‘They moved the ball around the team so quickly. When you're up against players like that you're thinking, “How are we going to stop this?” It was a big moment, it opened my eyes. It made me realise, “This is the next level, this is where you need to be.” I’m determined to work hard to reach that level.’
Mount’s current focus is on the international stage with England, who continue their UEFA Nations League campaign in Denmark tonight. The midfielder didn’t feature in the weekend win over Iceland so will be hoping for a runout against the Danes in order to bolster his own pre-season fitness and help the Three Lions to success.
For someone who enjoyed watching his country at tournaments as a football-mad youngster, every minute in an England shirt is special. If selected in Copenhagen, it will be Mount’s seventh international cap.
‘Four years ago I was at home watching Euro 2016 with my family and I felt that desire to be in the squad in years to come,’ admits Mount. ‘I knew that if I kept working hard and focused that I could be involved at Euro 2020. That was my target.
‘I don't know if I would have been picked but I'd put myself in a good position. It was a real shame the tournament was postponed but we all understand why and what had to be done.
‘I was also in Russia [at the 2018 World Cup] for the Tunisia game and the atmosphere was another level. That was the first World Cup I'd watched live and it made me feel so excited. Right then I knew I wanted to play in one in the future.
‘I'm an England fan and loved watching the team when I was younger. Now to be involved with the boys, it's an unbelievable feeling. Hopefully football will come home next summer - we want to win the big trophies.’