Chelsea FC

Mason Mount has done more than enough to prove he deserves to start for England

Ross Jackson
Apr 8, 2021, 4:00 PM GMT+1
Mount scored a brilliant goal against Porto
Mount scored a brilliant goal against Porto | Fran Santiago/Getty Images
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If there's one thing football fans are guilty of - but they'll never actually admit to - it's judging a player the first time they see them in action and then refusing to change their opinion.

We can deny it all we like, but that first impression is engrained in our memory for eternity and whenever said player's name is brought up in a conversation we instantly claim they're either brilliant or appalling - depending how they played the first time we watched them.

Mason Mount
Mason Mount's Chelsea form should guarantee him a place in the England starting XI | Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

We're a stubborn old bunch and the thought of admitting we were wrong sends a shiver down the spine.

Mason Mount has found himself falling foul of our stubbornness of late, though for a slightly different reason to that mentioned above.

The Chelsea man has seemingly become the whipping boy of English football over the past few years, purely because his respective managers at both club and country have shown immense faith in his talents and made him a regular with Chelsea and England.

'Oh he's a teacher's pet, he only gets a game because he licks [Gareth Southgate's/Frank Lampard's/Thomas Tuchel's] backside and runs around a lot'. Sound familiar?

The midfielder has struggled to shake this tag ever since he cemented his place in the starting XI for both club and country, but it's about time us footballs fans did the unthinkable and admitted we were wrong. *Takes a cartoon-esque loud gulp as a singular bead of sweat drips from his forehead*.

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The Chelsea man's form this season has been undeniably superb, playing the role of his side's main protagonist in helping to drag the Blues towards a Champions League place, despite the squad being littered with big-money signings and household names.

Since Thomas Tuchel arrived at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea's season has received a much-needed shot in the arm and they're now in the mix for a top four finish.

Frank Lampard's final few months at the club were a well-documented disaster, yet even towards the end of the club legend's tenure Mount was trying to single-handedly drag his team forward, with a stellar individual performance at Fulham in particular catching the eye as he scored the game's only goal to secure the three points.

Regardless of how well Chelsea have played since Tuchel's arrival, were it not for Mount they could still be languishing in midtable looking to pick up the pieces from Lampard's calamitous reign.

Mason Mount has helped drag his side forward this season
Mason Mount has helped drag his side forward this season | Pool/Getty Images

Of course, the disbelievers out there will point to the individual brilliance of both Phil Foden and Jack Grealish when arguing that Mount doesn't deserve a place in England's starting XI, yet with the trio locked on six Premier League goals apiece this season there's clearly very little in it.

All three are undoubtedly talented attacking players, so to separate them you need to delve deeper into their all-round games, and this is why Mount should be an automatic starter for England.

Some teams are good enough to be able to afford themselves one luxury player, but very few teams can afford two, and Mount is far from a luxury player. His work ethic and energy sets him apart from both Grealish and Foden, and the stats prove it.

As per Whoscored, Mount excels in every defensive column when compared to his two compatriots, completing more tackles per 90 minutes (1.8) compared to Foden (0.9) and Grealish (1.1) and more interceptions per game than the pair (0.8 when compared to Foden's 0.5 and Grealish's 0.4, respectively).

We're not suggesting that the Manchester City and Aston Villa stars don't work for the good of the team, but the simple fact of the matter is Mount works harder, and England need that if they're to accommodate either Foden or Grealish.

There's been a lot of talk in the build-up to Euro 2020 about letting the youngsters loose and just seeing what they can do. If they were to foolishly adopt this strategy, as soon as the Three Lions came up against a well-drilled outfit with classy operators in their side - of which there are a fair share at this summer's European Championship - Gareth Southgate's men would be torn apart, and that's why they need disciplined workers in the team.

For those of you too young to remember, Kevin Keegan once tried a very similar tactic with Newcastle back in the mid 90s, adopting very little game plan and just trying to score more than the opposition - if you go and check the Magpies' honours list on Wikipedia you'll get a decent sense for how it went.

Mount is a combination of both a flair player and a work horse, and England simply can't afford not to start him at this summer's Euro 2020.

Admitting you were wrong sucks, eh?

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