Mount could have used England fixtures to find confidence
Mason Mount’s future as a Chelsea player is far from certain. The 24-year-old has not featured for the Blues since February due to injury, but even when fit Mount has been on the periphery of Graham Potter’s team of late. It’s even been mooted that he would be on his way out of Stamford Bridge this summer.
With this in mind, Mount’s call-up to the England squad for the upcoming Euro 2024 qualifiers against Italy and Ukraine presented the midfielder with an opportunity. The national team environment could have helped Mount rediscover his confidence and get back to his best at club level.
In the end, Mount was forced to withdraw from Gareth Southgate’s squad as he continues his recovery from injury. “”He wasn’t 100% the last game,” Chelsea manager potter said ahead of last weekend’s match against Everton. “He is still not quite there so he will miss the England camp as well.”
This is a shame for Mount. He could have used the England camp in much the same way Harry Maguire has as his Manchester United career has stalled. Southgate is renowned for having the utmost faith in his players and Mount surely would have benefited from this before heading back to Chelsea for the final stretch of the club campaign.
England could still be a good environment for Mount with another international break coming at the end of the season. By then, the 24-year-old’s future could be in sharp focus with Liverpool and Manchester United believed to be interested in signing him if no breakthrough is made in contract discussions with Chelsea over the coming weeks and months.
Potter has yet to figure out how to use Mount in his Chelsea team. The former Brighton boss is slowly finding answers to questions in his new role at Stamford Bridge, but Chelsea’s recent improvement has come with Mount on the sidelines. He might find it difficult to force his way back into the team even when he is fit again.
Mount has always been best utilised as a link between the midfield and attack. He has been played in a deeper position during his time as a Chelsea player while Thomas Tuchel frequently used him on the right wing albeit with the freedom to cut inside and link up with teammates, but Mount is most effective as a creator and goal threat in his own right.
It’s difficult to envisage how he could fit into Potter’s team in this position. Chelsea have been playing in a 3-4-3 shape of late with Kai Havertz, Joao Felix and a conventional winger (Christian Pulisic against Everton) making up the front three and a double pivot playing in midfield. Mount is an awkward fit in midfield and attack in this shape.
Southgate, on the other hand, favours a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 formation which has a clearer and more accommodating role for Mount. England don’t always impose their game on opponents in the way that would truly get the best out of Mount and permit him to be most influential, but these circumstances would be better for him than is currently the case at Chelsea.
That Mount was named in Southgate’s initial squad for the upcoming Euro 2024 qualifiers proved the England manager still has a place for the 24-year-old in his plans despite a disappointing season so far for Chelsea. This might give Mount the only sense of certainty in his career at this moment in time. That in itself could help him get back to his best.