England Gareth Southgate thinks Mason Mount is only now getting the credit he deserves because Thomas Tuchel now runs him at Chelsea and not Frank Lampard.
Southgate is a big fan of the 22-year-old and named him in his starting XI for Sunday’s seventh consecutive World Cup qualifying game against Albania, with the midfielder scoring the second goal of the ‘England in a 2-0 victory.
However, his and Lampard’s loyalty to the player has been called into question in some quarters, which Southgate believes he only changed after the manager change at Stamford Bridge.
What did Southgate say?
After handling Mount at Derby and then Chelsea, Lampard was accused of favoritism when he continued to pick the midfielder by his side.
The accusations followed Mount internationally, despite four goals in 15 international appearances.
Lampard was sacked in January and replaced by the more experienced Tuchel, who went on to choose Mount, and Southgate says that should finally silence his critics once and for all.
Speaking after Sunday’s victory in Tirana, Southgate said of Mount: “He’s a great player, but I was saying that in the fall. I guess now that Thomas Tuchel chooses it, everyone will agree. When it was Frank, that doesn’t matter for some reason.
“He’s an exceptional player. He finds space intelligently, he handles the ball very well, he creates chances and he can score goals. I thought his performance was excellent tonight.
Reflecting on the rest of the team’s performance, Southgate added: “I thought Phil Foden was also good. I thought our four forwards were good. [Declan] Rice and [Kalvin] Phillips read the game well, competed well and got the ball back quickly. We had over 70% possession and controlled the game. In the end, we created more chances and we could have scored more.
The big picture
England’s victory in Albania saw them two out of two wins in World Cup qualifying, with Wednesday’s home clash with Poland ahead.
Despite appearing in both matches so far in this international break, Mount is likely to appear again at Wembley as the Three Lions pursue a third straight qualifying victory.
He will then return to Chelsea where he has already made 39 appearances in all competitions, with Tuchel’s team fourth in the Premier League and still in the Champions League and the FA Cup.