It would be very interesting to see how Frank Lampard would talk about and utilize the youth (DA YOUFFF) if he were in charge of Chelsea or any other top team — and perhaps one day we will — but until then, his comments, as heartening as they may be, should be taken with some restraint. Mason Mount, after all, has been a key player to (a fairly youthful) Derby County from day one of his loan there, and arguably has been their best and most important player when healthy. (He’s currently out with a hamstring injury still and Derby’s results have taken, probably not non-coincidentally, a slight turn for the worse.)
That caveat out of the way, Lampard’s comments on talkSport regarding Mason’s future are something that would give him a landslide victory if the position of Chelsea head coach were decided by a popular vote. Lampard/Terry 2020* — change we can believe in!
“In the modern day, he has got every box ticked in terms of his attributes. This year has been a great learning curve for him in the Championship, which is a tough league.
“What he does give is a real energy off the ball. His energy and desire to win the ball back is brilliant and then when you talk about the talent he has, he has everything to go right to the top. The England call-up he got will come again. His attitude and hunger is something that really pleases me. He is absolutely desperate to succeed, every day the way he trains he wants to improve.
“My aim is to send him back to Chelsea and go ‘there you go, you are one or two or three steps closer to their first team’.”
-Frank Lampard; source: talkSport
One could also argue that Lampard’s stated goal for Mason is precisely the goal of each and every loan Chelsea endeavor to arrange. While some loans can be disasters, most tend to work out well enough. The tricky part is normally the re-integration process that follows, which where countless others have fallen by the wayside.
Will Mount’s journey be any different? If Chelsea are indeed hit by a transfer ban this summer, it just might be. The recommendation of a Chelsea legend, who just happens to be one of Mason’s idols and obvious role-models could go a long way as well (regardless of how close Lampard may or may not be a future job at Stamford Bridge).
Lampard, like Terry recently, has been making all the right noises as far as Chelsea’s talented youth are concerned (especially Callum Hudson-Odoi), though of course it’s easy to talk when it’s not your job on the line.
NB.: Incidentally, Jamie Carragher had a decent take on this sort of situation the other day, putting forward the idea that hiring former players as coaches at “big” clubs is a good way to maintain continuity and have someone in charge who’s accustomed to the traditions, expectations, the egos, the daily life at a “big” club. Managing those intangibles can be just as important as any tactical setup or training methodology. (Unless of course you want to change and blow up all that.)