When Thomas Tuchel announced plans for his first game, Chelsea head coach Mason Mount had been forgiven for thinking ‘here we go again’.
Mount’s previous match was at a high level, with Frank Lampard making him captain against Luton for what turned out to be his reign’s last match.
A few days later, Mount was on the couch.
Thomas Tuchel (right) loved how Mason Mount (left) handled him during the early selection
Mount was at a peak in the final game of Frank Lampard, the Blues captain against Luton
Another challenge had come for Mount to overcome, a recurring theme in his career.
After the last eventful and whirlwind period at Chelsea, Tuchel wanted experience above the youth and flooded his team with more senior players, Callum Hudson-Odoi aside.
To say that Tuchel’s reasoning wasn’t quite what the Chelsea youths hoped to hear would be an understatement.
Mount, Chelsea sources say, are quick but respectful of their case.
Products from Chelsea’s academy he, Reece James and Tammy Abraham may have been just inexperienced children they were no longer.
They had all proven their loan before being key figures in Chelsea’s top four last season.
But Tuchel wanted experience with the youth against Wolves, which would allow Mount to fight for his cause
With all due respect, Wolves at Home was not a game beyond them.
Tuchel didn’t change his mind, of course. He is in charge and takes control.
But he still loved Mount’s response – direct and on the spot rather than second-hand, from the heart rather than the result of any outside influence and standing up for himself and his teammates.
Tuchel took Mount aside to tell him the same.
And the 22-year-old has barely left Tuchel’s team since then, becoming a player the German knows he can rely on, especially on big occasions like the FA Cup final on Saturday.
Like Lampard and England manager Gareth Southgate, Tuchel has quickly developed a huge admiration for Mount and gets excited when the opportunity presents itself.
Those feelings are mutual, as Mount enjoys life under Tuchel and his coaching staff just as much.
Ex-Chelsea youth coach Michael Beale (right) recalls how Mount fought setbacks during his journey
And how Mount has progressed since Tuchel’s arrival in January is just a continuation of what happened during his career.
Mount is a manager’s dream and always finds his way into their teams because of the range of qualities he possesses.
Technically gifted, versatile, reliable in fitness, a ruthless worker who delivers both workouts and games, can run all day and take it personally if he loses, Mount does the right thing and ticks all the boxes for his bosses.
And whenever obstacles were put in his way, Mount has simply pushed through to continue his journey from Chelsea’s academy to the top.
Mount arrived at Chelsea at the age of six and quickly showed the infectious personality, attitude and tenacity that have become his trademark.
But when he stepped out for a year to train with a group under 14, including Tammy Abraham, Fikayo Tomori, Dominic Solanke, and Jake Clarke-Salter, there were concerns about how a small mountain would handle the physical difference.
“ It was probably half his body weight and maybe even 12 inches tall, ” recalls former Chelsea youth coach Michael Beale, who oversaw the session in which a baby-faced mountain hit a Cristiano Ronaldo-style free kick in the “ top. ” baking ‘put out. making the social media clip that has gone viral since its breakthrough.
Beale saw Mount’s competitive streak resurface during his rental period at Vitesse Arnhem
“The team he came to train with was very successful and Mason was a little boy from the group downstairs, but he made people open their eyes right away.
‘Some kids, when they participate, there is a lot of stress on their face, but he was very calm.
“He got stuck right away, likes the challenge of going one step further and thinking someone else is a good player and going from toe to toe.”
Mount remains undaunted and willing to intervene where the boots and tackles fly to this day.
He may have suspected that he would be clattered before scoring Chelsea’s goal in the Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid, but he was not deterred.
“He knows there is a goal in it and will do everything he can to achieve the goal,” said a source.
It also came as no surprise to many that the goal came after Mount’s previous miss, such is his renowned desire to make things right if they ever don’t go according to plan.
Mount provided the answer if he could survive the Championship at Derby under Lampard
A younger Mount’s willingness to test himself was also reflected in how he took every chance to see how he fared against Europe’s best teams in overseas academy competitions.
In 2012, a determined Mount refused to be ruled out by an ankle injury for the second youth tournament when Chelsea played in the Netherlands and flew straight to another in Moscow.
Mount just ended up in rehab for the first few days in Russia, but was determined to be there so he could contribute as soon as he was fit.
“I think he just wanted the chance to go abroad knowing he could play against these top teams because he was always looking for the next challenge,” said Rangers assistant Beale.
‘The look in his eyes when he got the chance to play against Ajax, Barcelona, Real Madrid …
He’s looking for challenges and competition, whether it’s someone bigger, stronger or better known, while many young players can hide from it.
‘He would compete against the best player from the other teams and really wants to compete at that level that is unique. His little tit-for-tat with Toni Kroos, that’s why it was interesting to see because that’s the Freemason I know.
‘In a really nice way, not in an aggressive or arrogant way, that’s its small competitive nature. I think it’s fantastic to think he’s doing it with people like Toni Kroos now. ‘
The midfielder has scored against Real Madrid and has become a player Tuchel can rely on
Beale saw Mount’s competitive streak resurface during his rental period at Vitesse Arnhem.
Mount had spent the summer captaining England under 19 to 2017 Euro glory and was named Player of the Tournament, which caused the Young Lions’ progress to delay his arrival in the Netherlands.
Mount’s seasonal statistics
Mount tried to limit the damage by only taking a week’s vacation, although still catching up, he struggled with playtime at first.
“But Mason was determined to get on the team,” Beale said. “He stuck it out when one or two others got off their loans.”
Mount didn’t make his first start until October, but finished the season as Vitesse’s player of the year.
At Derby, there were some doubts, even by some at Chelsea, as to whether he could handle the rough and tumble fall of the championship.
Forty-four appearances, including the play-off final, 11 goals and six assists later, Mount had provided the answer.
More questions have arisen in recent years. Was he ready to step up to the Chelsea and Premier League first team?
Especially in his first season, Mount faced allegations that he took advantage of Lampard’s favoritism.
With England he found himself, through no fault of his own, up against Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish.
Not one to complain about, both widespread debates largely overlooked Mount.
Instead, he just got on with the job and let his performances speak for themselves.
It was similar last summer when reports from Germany suggested the arrival of Kai Havertz had ripped Mount’s nose out of the joint. Unhappy and concerned about the competition?
More excited by the latest challenge and determined to prove once again how much he deserves his hard-earned place on the Chelsea team.
There should be no more doubt about that.