Mason Mount is focused on becoming one of Chelsea’s big players but is humble enough to know that the work to get there has only just started, writes Paul Lagan.
Having starred in the Blues’ 2-0 win against Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, he joined up with the full England squad this week ahead of their Euro 2020 qualifiers against Montenegro tonight and Sunday’s encounter in Kosovo.
If selected tonight, to recognise it’s the 1000th England international, Mount 20, will have number 1,243, under the Three Lions crest, showing he’s the 1,243nd player to represent England at full international level.
He said: “I’m 1,243, it’s a number that I won’t forget so I’ll always remember that from my debut and it’s always going to stick with me.
“With the number under the badge, it’s so close to your heart and to have that on your shirt – it’s a proud moment.”
Mount has come a long way this term having spent a couple of seasons on loan in Holland before playing for Derby County last season where Frank Lampard was manager.
Mount said: “He knew what kind of player I am and what I could bring, but going back to Chelsea was a totally different challenge for me this time.
“You’re going into a top, top club where there’s a lot of pressure and you need to perform because Chelsea is a club which wins trophies and is always competing.
“So going back there, I knew I had to prove to the manager that I could perform at that level and also prove to the players that I was ready to come up because the competition in the squad is so high.
“At the start of the season we knew what we had in the squad. We knew the quality. We knew the young players coming through would make the step up and try to be big players in the team.
“We knew we had the quality so we set the goals of being up at the top of the table. That was our target.
“We’re doing very well at the moment and getting that momentum going.
“That is all you can ask for. Getting consecutive wins and three points every game is the most important thing.”
Mount is aware that with so many young players coming through some of the old-guard might be feeling the heat.
Lampard dropped skipper Cesar Azpilicueta for Reece James, 18, for the match against the Eagles, Mount was not surprised.
“With all of us young boys he has given us the chance to step up and prove that we are ready,” he said.
“To me, Tammy, Fikayo, Reece. You’re not given it, you have to show you’re ready to play.
When the day comes that you’re given the chance to play at Stamford Bridge you have to show you’re ready to step up.
“Reece is a very quiet boy. I have known him since we were eight years old from the academy. He’s a very good boy. He always works hard and will be a brilliant player for us.
He has tremendous qualities and will be a great player now and in the future.
“We have banter but some of it I can’t tell you what it is about. I probably call him ‘The Beast’ because he is so strong, quick and powerful.
“You don’t want to get too close to him in training because he will get you off the ball. It is best to stay away from him.
“We have a joke and a laugh. All of us boys know the ins and outs of every single one of us.”