In recent years, Chelsea’s youth teams have become synonymous with success. Those who’ve been involved have mostly had go on loan elsewhere before getting a chance in the first-team, namely Ruben Loftus-Cheek who has made a real case to fight for a place at Chelsea over the 2018/19 season.
Another one of those players who has to go elsewhere to impress is Mason Mount who will be playing his football under Chelsea legend, Frank Lampard, at Derby County this season. Mount impressed highly in the age groups at Chelsea where his technical ability on the ball caught the eye more than anything.
His first season of first-team football, like with many other Chelsea youngsters, came at Vitesse last season. Vitesse mostly played in a 4-3-3 with Mount being one of the more attacking central midfielders, a position Mount has said he feels most comfortable in, as you can tell from his 2017/18 heatmap.
Mount excelled in this role and with 14 goals and 10 assists left Vitesse as their Player of the Season. This may be one of the reasons that Lampard wanted to bring Mount to Derby as he has played with a 4-3-3 setup for most of pre-season. But what does Mount specifically offer here?
As you can tell from his heat map, Mount didn’t hesitate to push forward last season. However, this wasn’t just done for the sake of it as he showed time and again to be an excellent navigator high up the pitch. Many of his goals came from his awareness and picking the right spaces to attack and here’s an example.
This season, Mount has a great chance to hone this skill and make it a real feature of his game. Under Lampard, who was probably the best at that, he can learn so much in training to help him with this.
One feature that is a very real aspect of Mount’s game is his precision from dead ball situations. Whether it’s free-kicks or corners, he always carries a major threat from set-pieces and this is one of the main attributes he’s known for.
His delivery isn’t just spot on when the ball isn’t moving, however. With his accuracy and technique, his consistency from the set-piece translates into open play. Of his 10 assists last season, six came from crosses, and here’s an example of just how deadly his delivery is.
This is a great attribute for him to have as it can catch defences off-guard but it’ll be interesting to see if he can replicate this in a faster league.
As one of the more attacking midfielders in a 4-3-3, don’t be surprised to see Mount pull off to these areas to try and hit the Derby striker. He often tries this type of ball when he finds himself out on the right, however, so that may be a hotspot in terms of where he gains most of his assists this season.
Although he is usually used as an attacking midfielder, this was as a #8 for Vitesse which is why his ventures upfield were so hard to track. In this role, he may not be the midfielder who is told to regain possession, but it is an area he can improve in if he wants to progress in that area of midfield. Here’s an example of how.
Although he won’t the one tasked with winning the ball back in midfield, he will be in situations where he’ll have to assert himself a bit more and be smarter out of possession. This wasn’t the only time where he sold himself too easily over the course of the season so that will be an area for improvement for this season.
Overall, Mount’s loan at Derby County looks like it’ll be an encouraging one. Going to a club that have consistently finished in the Championship’s top 10, he’ll have good players around him, and in what some consider to be the hardest league, he could gain some invaluable experience to help him on his return to Chelsea. Also, under the tutelage of Lampard, it’ll be interesting to see how his game develops in a system that looks like it is made for him to succeed.