Why Mason Mount’s England call-up is no surprise

Mason Mount battles with Trent Alexander-Arnold during an England training session at St. George's Park on October 9, 2018 in Burton-upon-Trent,...

Gareth Southgate’s latest England squad selection had a more youthful look to it when the news was announced on Thursday. The headlines were dominated by a talented trio earning their first senior call-ups, as Leicester playmaker James Maddison and Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho were both called up. But what about the third creative newcomer?

The third new face belongs to Derby County’s Mason Mount (on-loan from Chelsea). Despite still being 19, his inclusion is no surprise and instead testament to the maturity he has displayed to earn regular first-team minutes.

The Portsmouth-born midfielder joined the Blues as a six-year-old and benefited from being fast-tracked into U18 and U23 action at a younger age than most players.

Not only did he possess the technical ability to warrant such belief from youth coaches, he performed with a refreshing air of confidence too. Age was just a number.

So much so that when he extended terms until 2021 in West London last summer, the Academy Player of the Year did it before leaving for Eredivisie side Vitesse Arnhem.

The news initially came as a surprise, given how English players have never tended to flourish outside home comforts. But the deal made sense – he’d be earning valuable minutes in a new environment, a different country with a new language to learn.

Chelsea have loaned more than 20 players to Vitesse over the past eight years. Mount has proven himself to be one of their most influential acquisitions: scoring 13 goals, creating 10 more and helping them qualify for the UEFA Europa League.

Frank Lampard, who knows him well through his Chelsea connections, sealed a season-long loan deal for the playmaker at Pride Park this term – combining with Mount’s former boss Jody Morris to continue helping him develop is a seamless transition.

“Mason can do anything he wants – he is that good. That’s not to say he will go in and be an England starter in their next game, as it’s Gareth’s choice.

But whatever level you put him in, because of his quality, work ethic and mentality – he wants to get better and better – he will do anything he wants to,” Lampard was quoted as saying last month.

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