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Why Chelsea FC and England trust ‘influential’ Mason Mount despite fan doubts

The midfielder’s display in Monday’s 6-2 win over Iran was a prime example of what he does best, finding space against defensive opponents. Gareth Southgate selected Mount for his crucial ability to receive the ball between the lines and link-up play.

His runs – as well as those of Jude Bellingham – in the box were also essential. The first chance of the match fell on Mount and, yes, he should have hit the mark. Five minutes later Bellingham opened the scoring after a similar push into the box.

It was the tactical detail that opened the game for England, which was then clinical and blew Iran away. Bellingham was considered by many to be the man of the match, but Mount was also influential. Southgate turn to the 23-year-old when the stakes are high, trusting him in a variety of positions and playing him as a No6, No8 or No10.

Since making his debut against Montenegro in 2019, Mount has played 57.6% of England’s 3,210 competitive minutes. He has started in all but one Euro 2020 knockout tie.

Playing on the left of a midfield three in a 4-3-3 when England were in possession, Mount bonded well with best friend Declan Rice, team-mate Raheem Sterling and Luke Shaw. Without possession of the ball, England were set up in a 4-2-3-1, with Mount pushing to press higher.

He brought energy and knitted things together. However, Southgate faces clamor to choose other players, such as Phil Foden or Jack Grealish, ahead of Mount. They may be easier on the eyes, but Mount’s ability as a link-up player extends off the field.

It is well known that Mount and Rice are best friends. Even their families are close, as they hook up on a cruise ship just off Doha. Mount lays the foundation for further friendships with players and staff. Shaw has grown close to Mount, while Sterling has great respect for his Chelsea teammate.

Sterling’s relationship with Mount began in 2018, when Southgate called Mount to train with the senior team while he was on loan in the Netherlands at Vitesse.

Mount’s display against Iran was a prime example of what he does best, finding space against defensive opponents

“It was the best practice performance I’ve seen to date,” Sterling said recently. “He joined the seniors. He just arrived and I’m not even exaggerating, left foot, right foot, chopping and changing direction. He was amazing.

At Chelsea, Mount is also struggling to seduce some of the supporters. But he continues to have the backing of Chelsea manager Graham Potter after Thomas Tuchel and Frank Lampard defended him. Several Chelsea players withdrew from their last Premier League game before the World Cup against Newcastle, but Mount made himself available.

Tomorrow night Mount will face team-mate Christian Pulisic, whom he first met in June 2010 when the United captain came on trial at Chelsea as a child. Pulisic has since become a superstar in America, but Mount, who is younger than his counterpart, doesn’t receive the same adulation around his national team.

Confidence: Mason Mount set to start again for England v USA

/ Getty Images

The No.19 Mount wears for Chelsea and England sums up his career to date. In reality, he would prefer the more prestigious No8 or No10, but he is not making a noise. And wearing the shirt worn by Paul Gascoigne at Italia 90 does not escape him.

“I wouldn’t say that’s actually my favorite number,” Mount said after Prince William presented him with his England shirt ahead of the tournament. “It’s my second time in an amazing tournament and I don’t mind wearing No19. We opened our shirts and it said who wore them in the past. Mine had Gazza, it was just amazing have.

Mount’s ability to put others first makes him dear to managers. Not everything he does is easy to see, which might explain why some will never understand what he brings.


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