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Lampard happy for Mount recognition, less happy with Mount starting three times for England

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No rest for Mason

England v Iceland - UEFA Nations League - Group A2 - Wembley Stadium Photo by Ian Walton/PA Images via Getty Images

Mason Mount, Chelsea’s own True Blue homegrown €100m superstar is far from universally appreciated, and while in the online social media wilderness you can always find any and every opinion you’d ever want, the amount of unwelcome criticism, often from his own fans, has been loud enough to still lead to mainstream media coverage.

The mob is fickle of course, especially with all of us stuck behind keyboards. Fortunately, Mount has plenty of support and appreciation where it matters most, his teammates and his coaches, both at Chelsea and the England national team. Lampard’s reliance on the young midfielder has contributed to the criticism — Mount led the team with 55 appearances last season, missing just 2 games (though he did not lead the team in minutes) — but Lampard’s not alone in that regard.

Mount has played in 13 of England’s last 14 games in all competitions, dating back to September 2019, and he’s started the last five, including all three in the last week.

As heartening as it is to see Mason being trusted on the international stage as well, it means that he’s coming back to Chelsea practically without a single minute of rest. He was the only player in the England squad to start all three games — because of course FIFA/UEFA have doubled down on the ill-advised nature of these breaks in a pandemic-shortened and -congested season by adding a third match to the usual slate of two! — playing 206 of the 270 minutes available to him.

And that makes Lampard simultaneously very happy, and also not quite so happy.

“It shows how much Gareth Southgate sees him and relies on him and trusts in him [just as] I have done from time in management. It’s nice to see a lot of positivity around Mason. It is well deserved.

“Maybe he’s a player that has more quality passes in pressing moments in a game than a showreel of stepovers and flicks. Maybe that’s not as exciting to the modern fan, but for us managers, I think you can see how much we rely on him. I get Gareth’s position in playing him. [...] Everything about Mason is that he has a great attitude, he’s a fit young man and will have a lot of games coming up that I will need him to be fit for. [The] schedule has never been busier, there’s never been more of a pressure on players.

“But I can’t sit here and say Gareth Southgate shouldn’t make decisions he makes when he’s England manager and in the position he’s in. That’s just a part of the story. With Mason I hope that he comes through fresh because at the minute he’s in great form.”

-Frank Lampard; source: Football.London

Lampard’s clearly trying to be respectful, but also unable to entirely hide his frustration with the situation. With Chelsea down two attacking players at the moment in Christian Pulisic (hamstring) and Kai Havertz (fitness post-COVID), Lampard’s options are already a bit limited up front.

Mount may be young, willing, and dedicated, but he’s not indefatigable or indestructible. And the same is true for the three players ahead of him on the minutes chart for Chelsea, Timo Werner, Kurt Zouma, and N’Golo Kanté. Lampard will have to figure out how to rotate and keep his squad fresh as we begin this four-month stretch of wall-to-wall games.

Mount will continue to play a massive part of course, which makes it even more important that his fitness is managed properly.