Mason Mount’s uninterrupted rise over the past few years has plateaued a bit in recent months, and the 21-year-old has been subject to increasing criticism for his performances. Not even Saturday’s 2-assist effort could tip the scales of popular opinion — sure, they were “just” set piece assists, but considering how badly we’ve missed being able to score from set pieces this season, they were surprisingly ignored during our latest community player ratings vote.
That’s not to say that the criticisms have been unwarranted. Before the weekend, he had just 1 goal and 1 assist in his previous 14 Premier League appearances, a sharp drop in numbers from the beginning of the season when he scored 4 goals and collected 2 assists in just 10 games. Mount’s not a traditional No.10 of course and his game is much more than just goals and assists, but those are what define the narrative anyway (see also: former Mount-esque Chelsea star, Oscar).
Mount’s also seen, rightly or wrongly, as Frank Lampard’s favorite son, which isn’t helping the conversation. But while it’s true that Mount leads the team in appearances with 35, he’s just fifth among non-goalkeepers in minutes with 2410. Azpilicueta (2810), Jorginho (2592), Zouma (2580), and Abraham (2442) are all ahead of him, with Willian (2252) and Kovacic (2196) also above the 2000-mark at the winter break. (Tomori, Kante, and Pulisic complete the top 10.)
And while that doesn’t rule out a possible need for Mount to get an extended rest, for him, the challenge of playing at Chelsea’s level is more mental than physical.
“The challenge of [playing at this level] is definitely more mental than physical. The focus is on performing in every single game and the fans want you to do well so there is a lot of pressure...”
-Mason Mount; source: Mail
It’s a tough balance to strike for Mount, and for Abraham, and for all the other Chelsea youngsters. Fans want results, but we also want “our own” to play.
Some extra patience might be required.