Mason Mount became the latest Chelsea Academy graduate to sign a long term contract with the club after Ruben Loftus-Cheek pledged his future to Chelsea just last week. It’s the latest sign that Chelsea are indeed taking the idea of a homegrown youth revolution seriously.
Having practically spent his entire life at Chelsea, Mount couldn’t be happier to take this giant step towards his dream of making his first-team debut for Chelsea.
“It’s a massively proud moment for myself and my family. I joined this club at six years old and it was always my goal to play for the first team one day. Even though I went out on loan for two years, my goal was always to come back and play — my mind has never really moved from that.
On the backs of impressive loans at Vitesse Arnhem, where he was voted their Player of the Year, and at Derby County, where he proved an integral part of the squad as they narrowly missed out on Premier League promotion, Mount has been given a perfect opportunity to work once again with Frank Lampard and stake a claim in the Chelsea first team.
“Joining Chelsea at the age of six, Frank was always my idol. He was a Chelsea player and an attacking midfielder like me so I always looked up to him. Being with him at Derby was the best thing for me because I couldn’t have anyone else better to learn from day-in, day-out.It was a brilliant year for me in that sense and now coming back to Chelsea and him coming back as well, it’s obviously perfect timing.
“I’m really looking forward to the coming season now and working hard to have an impact here at Chelsea. I’ve been at the club for a long time already and hopefully I’ll stay for a long time to come.”
The transfer ban imposed by FIFA has prevented Chelsea from using the usual channels to reinforce a team in need of overhaul, especially after Eden Hazard’s departure. However, the ban has also created a golden opportunity for returning loanees and academy youth players to finally crack the code for a place in the first team squad.
The promotion of personnel closely associated with the academy, such as Joe Edwards and Eddie Newton to the first team coaching staff, not to mention the return of former U18 head coach Jody Morris as assistant manager, should result in the removal of the seemingly impenetrable barriers that had prevented all but one Chelsea youth player since John Terry from making 50 starts for the first-team — Christensen now has 63, while Loftus-Cheek is getting closer at 30 starts.
“Young boys feel like there’s a pathway here and that they’re going to get a chance, which gives us confidence to train with the first team, try to get into the team and work hard to be involved. That’s my goal for this season – I want to fight for my position and having 80 games under my belt over the last two years has given me a really good platform coming back. It’s really exciting times at the moment.
“I watched Callum and Ruben come through last season, playing games and scoring goals, and it was very pleasing for me to see them doing so well. It’s exciting to come back and think I can do the same as them. They stepped up when they had the chance and now I’m going to work as hard as I can trying to repeat what they did.”
The idea of youth integration may not longer be just a bunch of empty promises, but at the same time, no one will be handed the proverbial silver spoon of first-team football. Competition for places in a top team like Chelsea has and always will be high, and it is up to the player to work hard and be smart in grabbing any chance that comes their way, starting with training sessions.
Lampard’s arrival also brings with it a certain high tempo progressive style of play. Mount, who’s already well-versed with the system, assures that the entire squad is totally buying into the gaffer’s ideas and are motivated to execute them on the pitch.
“Every time I put on the Chelsea shirt, whether in training or a game, it’s a massive honour for me. When you’ve been at a club for such a long time and you get to put that shirt on, there’s no other feeling apart from you want to just go out and give it your all. That’s something I’m really looking forward to.
“We want to play attacking football, we want to press and then to win the ball back as quickly as we can when we lose it. That’s the way Frank wants to play and it can work really well, like we saw last season at Derby. There’s a lot of running and hard work involved in that so we’ve started working towards it in pre-season and all the boys have bought into it
“The team is unbelievable and there’s some world-class players in the dressing room so the best thing for me at the moment is to learn from them as much as I can. I want to play as many games as I can for Chelsea. I want to score as many goals, get as many assists and work as hard as I can to do that.”
- Mason Mount; source: Chelsea FC
Here’s hoping for an immensely successful 2019-20 season for both Chelsea and Mason Mount! And many more after.