When Frank Lampard took over at Chelsea at the start of last season, he had two similar faces at the club in Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori. Both of them played under Lampard on loan at Derby County in the 2018/19 Championship campaign.
Mount was one such player who has enjoyed the benefits of the club's transfer ban. The Englishman has made 52 appearances for Chelsea in all competitions, out of which only 11 of them were off the bench. He managed to score eight goals and provide a further six assists in all competitions last term.
However, his performances last season have divided the fans and pundits, with some believing Lampard gave him preferential treatment compared to other players. In short, some call him a fantastic, while some call him overrated.
Is Mason Mount overrated or underrated?
Another thing to consider here is that he is still only 21 years old and has time to improve his game. Mount has shown flashes of his brilliance while at times he has been inconsistent, which is expected from a young player. He is often compared to current manager Lampard, who had a habit of scoring goals from the midfield by arriving late into the box.
However, due to tactical reasons, he is unable to do that. It is understandable why Lampard likes to play him in midfield, but it is highly debatable to play him as a winger, especially when other players are available. Mount often drops deep in midfield to create a 3-on-2 situation, which helps Chelsea dominate games. However, it often makes it difficult for him to arrive late in the box and attack.
He is highly energetic and has good stamina, helping him to run up and down the pitch in midfield, whilst he's also the player who leads the charge for a press on opposition defenders. The Englishman's tactical understanding is actually an underrated aspect of his game; he's very good at dropping deep and helping out his fellow midfielders and defenders.
The former Derby man regularly leaves his central position and moves towards the wing where the ball is, which helps the full-backs and wingers overload a particular side and then find space to swing in a cross.
Though his ability on the ball is poor when compared to the likes of Jack Grealish and James Maddison, the Englishman's technical ability is not good enough. What these players can do on the ball, for the time being, Mount doesn't seem to be capable of doing that.
The effect Mount has by dropping deep, these players are able to do with the ball at thier feet. When an opponent tries to press them, they either go past or find the pass in the space left by the opponent.
When Mount is not dropping deep, his efficiency reduces and at times when he receives the ball, he is unable to go past the opponent or find killer pass. He is still only 21 years old and might develop this trait later in the game, but it seems unlikely.
He hasn't shown that he can go past players. Having now played in more than 50 games at the top-level in English football, one can conclude that he lacks the ability to dribble. Mount's technical aspect of the game is not that good, though his role demands him to be good and despite this, he has been given many chances.
He is not really a creative midfielder who can find the best pass in the final third either; all his assists during his career have either come through crosses or set-pieces. But when the opponent sits back tight he is not the player to find that killer pass, he needs space to play and when that is not there he struggles.
Mount's finishing hasn't been good and at times against top teams, he often struggles to play his natural game and gets cold feet in front of goal. However, against weaker opposition, he is a very different player. At times, especially when he plays as a winger, the opposition would often try to press him hard and he is unable to find the pass in spaces left by his opponents.
Mount has also struggled to deal with the physicality of other players as well. Alhough he has a small frame, that cannot be an excuse and it's another thing the English media are always quick to praise him for, but they hardly criticise him or point out faults in his game.
Lampard has probably played him more than he deserved and other players, and the team, have suffered because of it. He is a good player, but there are players who are better than him and deserve more chances such as Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ruben Loftus Cheek.
Chelsea have signed Bundesliga talent Kai Havertz and on paper, the German is a far better player than Mount. It's not like Mount is not a good player, he is capable of developing into a very good player. However, Chelsea are a club that wants to win trophies regularly and they won't wait for Mount to develop while other players are very capable of doing what he's doing, but in a better way.
Loftus Cheek can play the role that Mount plays and next season he should start ahead of Mount. He can drop deep, he is fast, pacey, strong, consistent, he has a good vision and he has a better presence in the box than Mount.
Havertz is likely to play centrally or on the wing as a good dribbler that can find those passes when opponents press him and at Chelsea, he will have better players to play with compared to Leverkusen.
Lampard has better players than Mount and if he continues to play him, despite there being other players fit and settled at the club, it will harm Chelsea. Not to forget it would demoralise other players who would want an impartial manager at the club.Published 09 Sep 2020, 07:00 IST