Mason Mount is beginning to feel like an established member of the England team having been the only player to start all three of their games in the last international window. But as time goes on it is becoming more and more difficult to pinpoint where best to utilise the Chelsea midfielder – for club and country.
While Gareth Southgate says “you can’t have too many intelligent footballers” and considers Mount’s versatility “hugely important”, Thomas Tuchel has used the 22-year-old in five different roles since becoming head coach at Stamford Bridge in January.
Mount will either line up on the left of a front three or in a deeper role, possibly next to his best friend Declan Rice, in England’s opening World Cup qualifier against San Marino tomorrow night.
But he was careful to stress that he has no preference, instead placing an emphasis on why versatility is such a big asset at a time where rotation is a necessity.
“That’s what the modern game is about,” he said. “I think my versatility is something that’s positive to me. I don’t mind playing a bit deeper or further up. I don’t mind. That’s something positive for me. I just need to work hard and do well in different positions.”
For all the talk of versatility, Mount’s durability has also been a massive factor in such a congested season. No one has played more minutes for Chelsea and he even wore the captain’s armband in last weekend’s FA Cup win over Sheffield United, an experience from which he “learnt a lot”.
He is still on a sharp developmental curve, growing in confidence with each international camp. Being fit throughout has been one of the most significant factors with many around him struggling to keep up with the pace.
“Touch wood I have not had many injuries so far,” he added. “I am someone that loves football, any opportunity to play or be involved I’ll be ready. I’m still young, that helps when playing a lot of games in a short space of time.
“It’s something I’ve learnt over the years since going to the Championship and experiencing a lot of games in the short space of time. Then coming back to Chelsea, I played 54 in that season in a short space of time. You gain that experience as the season goes on, you learn how to look after your body and to be available for every single game.
“That’s what you want as a player: to play as much as possible. It’s a positive of mine to be able to play. Hopefully, I continue to look after myself and continue to be 100% for most games.”