Mason Mount leads Chelsea in appearances — not starts — having failed to feature in exactly just one game, the third round League Cup match against fourth division Grimsby Town. Only César Azpilicueta (who leads the team in starts) and Kepa Arrizabalaga have played more minutes overall, and only Tammy Abraham and Christian Pulisic have scored more goals in the Premier League.
When Mason Mount plays well — and not just in terms of goals and assists — Chelsea tend to do well. Sunday’s 1-0 win over Leicester City, when Mount was one of three hooked at half-time was a rare exception to that trend.
Frank Lampard, clearly a big fan of the 21-year-old, isn’t too worried about that exception.
“I rely on Mason a lot — I did at Derby and I do at Chelsea. He brings so much to the team with his work ethic, the way he can start the press from midfield and then obviously his quality on the ball, which is only going to get better and is already at a really high level. He works brilliantly every day and he knows how much I trust in him. I had to make a decision [against Leicester] but it doesn’t affect my thinking for West Ham or going forward.”
Mount’s described himself as a non-luxury No.10 but that still doesn’t quite capture his full range of versatility, as he’s able to not only contribute to attacking and defending from the front, but can do so centrally, out wide, or even deeper in midfield. He’s the type of player you can build around, much in the same way as José Mourinho once decided to build around Oscar rather than one Eden Hazard.
Those plans didn’t quite come off for The Special One, but that’s no reason to think Lampard’s plans with Mason will suffer a similar fate. Any 21-year-old will have inconsistencies of course, but that’s just part of the growing process we have to tend to with such a young squad.
“He played 90 minutes in the first two games of the restart. At Villa, he was incredibly lively with the ball, gave them a lot of problems going forward and was unfortunate not to score or have an assist.
“Then the work ethic and quality he showed against Manchester City was also incredible in a team performance which was really good. He had two big performances in a week and at Leicester he didn’t have a bad performance, it was just a performance in line with the team.”
Coming up against good friend (and former and maybe future teammate as well) Declan Rice today, Lampard has no doubt that Mount will deliver the goods if needed.
“I think it spurs you on more if you have a personal relationship either way, whether you’re best friends or maybe don’t even like each other.
“They’re two very good young players. The only thing I ask from Mason is that he texts him beforehand, smiles at him in the tunnel or whatever it is but if and when they go up against each other, he has to try and beat him in every individual battle that he possibly can. Sensing Declan’s character, I think they’ll both be like-minded on that one.”
-Frank Lampard; source: Chelsea FC
Rice was essential in West Ham’s 1-0 win at the Bridge earlier this season. Time for a payback, Mason.