Former Chelsea coach Eddie Newton has talked up the character of Mason Mount, who he says has more of an edge to his personality than he lets on.
The highly-rated young England international has had a superb season for Chelsea, with his form really taking off under Thomas Tuchel in particular.
It seems Newton was always a fan of Mount, and recalled how he took notice of him from a young age due to his burning desire to play and make it big in the game.
“I remember saying, ‘We can’t lose this guy. This guy is going to be top’. Unfortunately, when Jose Mourinho came in as manager, their personalities became an issue. They clashed. It wasn’t going to work” – which major Mourinho transfer blunder is this? Click here to find out.
Speaking to The Athletic, Newton compared Mount to Manchester City star Kevin De Bruyne as he heaped praise on the 22-year-old ahead of this weekend’s Champions League final.
“You know who reminds me of Kevin (De Bruyne) in their manner? Mason,” Newton said. “He’s not as blunt as him, but Mason has this steely belief in himself, is a very driven young man. He goes about things a slightly different way. He smiles and everyone thinks he’s just a lovely kid but, trust me, that guy has an edge to him when he needs it. He couldn’t get to this level if he didn’t.”
Newton detailed a time when he was impressed by the way Mount handled a conversation with Tore Andre Flo, who was part of the club’s loan staff at the time.
“I remember Tore asking Mason questions and I just observed,” he said. “Mason came in the room, smiling and everything. But the way he was answering Tore, there was no simple replies of, ‘I don’t know’ and talking a load of rubbish, leaving you to guide him to which direction he needs to go.
“He was like, ‘I’m the best in training, I don’t know why he (Vitesse Arnhem manager Henk Fraser) isn’t picking me, I believe I should be playing. I’m not having this, I want to go back to Chelsea and try again’. It was a case of, ‘I know where I want to go, what I want to do. I’ve got no patience for this, I haven’t come here to sit on my backside and watch others play’.
“I was like, ‘Whoa — I didn’t know you before but I like you now! There is something about you. You have a bit of an edge to you, eh?’ He just smiled. That broke the ice.
“I knew this kid had a future. What a lot of people don’t understand is that having talent is one thing, but if you don’t have the mentality and drive, it can only take you so far.”
Chelsea fans will no doubt enjoy getting this insight from one of their former coaches, and it will likely make Mount even more popular than he already is.
Credit must surely go to Frank Lampard for giving Mount the chance to play more often when he was relatively unproven last season, though Tuchel has clearly also had a key role in his development.