It was just weeks ago when Frank Lampard managed his final game with Chelsea. Much to the surprise of many, Lampard elected to give the captain's band to Mason Mount. Under Lampard's tutelage Mount rose to prominence from the Chelsea academy ranks to one of the best midfielders in the English Premier League.
By all accounts, Mount is one of the most hard working players in the club. Mount understands that his position is up for grabs as new manager Thomas Tuchel and his new tactics means that players who were recently favoured under Lampard might no longer be so in the new tactical system. Yet, Tuchel was one of the first to praise Mount for his work ethic and passion in training, perhaps leading to his start against Tottenham on Thursday.
However, what is hard to ignore is Mount's impact on the club this season. Mason has played more minutes (1,708) than any other player and has been apart of five goals this season. Additionally, Mount has solidified himself as one of the most consistent players not just on the club, but in the regular starting XI.
It seemed just months ago that Lampard had an affinity for the young player. Lampard, who only had the academy to utilise due to a transfer ban, decided to heavily promote Mount in the first team. Mount was heavily criticised as a young player but eventually developed into one of England's best midfielder's. Mount silenced the critics and quickly got to work in the squad.
Yet, perhaps the most interesting aspect of Mount is how he has been utilised under both managers this season. With Lampard at the helm, Mount was routinely employed as a midfielder that had little to do with the attacking portion of the offense. Despite the role, Mount was still incredibly effective at creating goal opportunities for his fellow teammates. His invaluable presence kept him on the pitch and at the top of the list for Lampard's starting XI.
With Tuchel in charge, Mount has been used as an inside forward that is feeding the ball to the strikers in an attempt to create more goal opportunities. Tuchel did not utilise Mount in his first match as manager against Wolves, but quickly implemented him in subsequent matches. Tuchel since joining the club has been a vocal supporter of Mount.
Here is what Tuchel had to say prior to the match against Tottenham:
"What I’ve seen from the outside and what I’ve seen on the inside, he [Mount] is 100% all the time. He cares a lot about Chelsea, he cares a lot about his teammates, he is leaving his heart on the pitch."
Mount is being utilised in a different role than what he was asked to do under Lampard. It is fully possible that the role Tuchel wants Mount to fulfil is ultimately to his strengths. That being said, it will take Mason time to conform to his new role and identity within the squad and return to his productive ways.
Mount should be a lock as a player that will continue to see more starts going forward. Despite a new manager in Tuchel taking over, consistency in the squad will be valued and Mount is the epitome of the "Chelsea way." His hard work, selflessness and team before self attitude will keep him in the starting XI, despite who the manager at the helm is.
Mount is a fantastic player and he belongs not just within the club but the starting XI.. Not much more needs to be said. If the Blues finish in a top position for Europe this season then it come on the heels of Mount's performance. Where Mason goes, so too does this club. Lampard believed he was captain material at such a young age, and his leadership in the dressing room carries some weight.
Despite the addition of Timo Werner, Kai Havertz and Hakim Ziyech, the most influential player has been the Chelsea academy product in Mason Mount. Many of the former Chelsea greats have not come from the academy, but Mount very well could be the exception. With a renewed tactical responsibility under Tuchel, Mount may be well on his way to becoming one of Chelsea's greats.