Can Mason Mount Buck The Trend at Chelsea?

Mason Mount, might be a relatively unknown name to football fans outside Chelsea and Vitesse, however the 19 year old from Portsmouth is taking his chance by storm and has grown into his role at Vitesse impressing fans alike, with his powerful dribbling and key passes splitting defenses, can Mount continue his monumental form and force a place at Chelsea, to become a regular at the club.

When Mason agreed to join the club way back in July, many fans of the Dutch club were surprised at this player, who they didn’t know much about and what could he bring to the team. However many fans of Chelsea knew and understood his qualities which had been shown time and time again within the youth setup. He joined the youth academy set up at the age of six in 2005 and since then has come in strides involving his development. Mount impressed the club in the 16/17 season season scoring 10 times in 39 appearances for the u18’s and u21’s, helping them to win the FA Youth Cup and the Under-18 Premier League. As he became a regular for the time and continually putting in higher performances he was keen to develop himself as a player and was concerned about getting stuck in the youth academy at Chelsea, so opted for a loan move. During his time for the academy Mason had impressed with his darting runs into the box but also to drag the defender out of space, which allowed for the space to be opened for Tammy Abraham or Ike Ugbo, allowing them to be through on goal. Furthermore, was through his posting ability playing in the Number 8 or 10 role, allowed him to roam and to create leading to late darting runs into the book, which meant he could capitalise on balls laid back, finishing calmly in a Lampard or Kevin De Bruyne style.

Some Chelsea fans were apprehensive of the move to Holland. Many thought he could have gone straight into a championship or premier league side which while true, that would have hindered his development because of the fact that he is playing in holland it allows for regular game time which has work in his favour as he has flourished after getting his chance. The start to his life at the dutch club was slow with manager Henk Fraser looking to utilise him from the bench as he made substitute appearances versus Az, Lazio, Nice, Utrecht and Hearcles. Despite this slow start he maintained in his own belief of abilities that he could play and was better starting in the team. Fraser has told the dutch newspaper “De Telegraaf” that What I like the most about Mount is that he has been mad at me for weeks, but at the same time is training madly, so he forces it on the field, he did not even look at me, even if I said good morning. to see that such a boy is so enormously eager.”  This from Fraser gave a huge insight into the mentality of the player who wasn’t playing and was upset and angry at the manager, worked hard in training and as a result this payed off and worked favourably showing his positive attitude of working hard, he subsequently got his chance.

The English has played in the No. 8 and No.10 role whilst as Vitesse, this has allowed him to play a similar style as at Chelsea utilising his key strengths which involve dribbling and playing key passes. In his first professional season he has contributed 8 goals and assists in 17 appearances which is a good feat by a player playing their first season learning the tricks and trades of the game. His Style of play has been compared to many players but the ones which stand out include; Frank Lampard and KDB. These come from his impressive performances at the club, with his dribbling ability being able to carry the ball from the DM areas of the pitch to attacking positions to create chances, on average Mount creates just over 2.44 chances and with around 20.76 successful passes and a 75% accuracy he rarely gives the ball away and can create something from nothing. Furthermore, another important part of his success at the club has been through his directness such as through corners and free kicks, looking to create and score rather than look for the simple option of the short pass, but time and time again wanting to showcase his talents. Similar to how KDB takes his corners and free kicks looking for the targets in the box and goal from free kicks, shows that he is confident in his abilities and offering something unique to the team, which seems to be lacking in some teams around europe. Additionally, the comparisons about Frank Lampard can be seen in his ability to play key passes up the pitch to either wide areas or to the striking force, but also through his late runs into the box allowing him to open and create space for himself to get the shot away instead of hiding of lurking on the edge of the box, this is also harder for defenders to mark as they have to be concerned about the space but also the man, leaving their heads in two minds.  This season Mount has showed this in the games verses FC Groningen, where had to adjust his body quickly as the ball unexpedly reached him and calmly showing his composure slotted the ball in the corner past a helpless keeper. Another key goal was showcased versus Sparta Rotterdam, where he put on show his late runs into the box with the onlooking defence marking the other attackers in the box, he darted lated and called for the ball, which was delivered just inside the box and he ran in and calmly side footed the ball in, showing his technical abilities under pressure but also when he was given the freedom to roam. Mason also has a powerful burst of pace, which allows his him to get away from players who are marking him, further enhancing his ability to create and to roam, being able to get away from markers is a key ability and has allowed him to with ease play crosses into the box, make runs but also score, as was shown verses PSV; when he made a bursting run into box away in space from the defenders showing his burst of pace and connected with a looping ball in, to loop over the keeper with the outside of his boot, further setting him apart from his teammates and showing the many different abilities which he has.

Mason, is a close family man, so I reached out to his father Tony, to gain some insight into how his knowledge has been passed onto his son; Tony mentioned, that one important bit of advice he gave towards Mason was about, letting the football do the talking, something which has been shown to Fraser this season in training. Furthermore using his knowledge, it has helped him to convey some important messages towards Mason; “My experience as a Non league Manager for 16 years enabled me to highlight to him the importance of focusing on hard work on the training ground, commitment, dedication and importantly being mentally strong, prepared for the up’s as well as the downs, skill and ability are expected and a given, I have been involved with lots of young players who have come out of the pro game and dropped into Non league for one reason or another and it wasn’t always to do with ability.”, Lastly adding “Mason is extremely focused in playing at the highest level he can, which he believes will be with CFC”. Having a father who is knowledgeable about the game, can only help to enhance the growth and development of a young player at any age and to help keep them grounded at the task at hand.

Of course, as with any loan player that performs will get the showcase they deserve they need to continue to show their hunger and desire to improve and many youth players haven’t got their chance when they take it. However Mason offers something potentially different to team in replace of Cesc, offering power, pace and directness, injecting a new lease of life into a team currently depleted. If he continues his hard and listening to then the logical and sensible mind of his father, there is no reason why Mason Mount cannot make the first team of Chelsea.

Writer: Oliver Dykes/@OliverDykes

Photo: Pers Group