Mason Mount sports a new tattoo and reflects on his 2021. The tattoo itself is a permanent reminder of the highlight of what he calls “a crazy year,” to commemorate the night the Portsmouth boy became a champion of Europe.
He is in excellent form, having scored in four of his last five appearances for Chelsea. Only Mohamed Salah is making a goal or assist more frequently than Mount in the Premier League this season, his game now evolving under Thomas Tuchel.
But first, a word about that tattoo.
“It’s something I thought about after the final,” he says Sky Sports. “It took a long time to get the design and everything I wanted, but Miles, the tattoo artist, is brilliant, one of the best in the business. He did an amazing job.
“Obviously the stadium was the Estadio do Dragao, so I wanted him to be involved just for the memory of where we played and the atmosphere around the game. Having the dragon around the trophy felt right. I’m really happy. and I love it. “
Mount’s assist in that match decided the Champions League final. He made the list of Ballon d’Or finalists, but would have been higher if England had also won Euro 2020 – he would have been the only man to start and win the continent’s two biggest games this summer.
“It was a roller coaster and it all went so fast,” he says of his year. “To finish the season with a trophy and then go to the European Championships was incredible for me and I learned a lot”.
Momentum was reduced earlier this season. “I had a little problem with my hammy so I lost a couple of games.” He returned with a hat-trick against Norwich but missed the next Premier League match at Newcastle due to problems with his wisdom teeth.
“It wasn’t a fun experience. I woke up and knew it wasn’t right so I went back to London. I had to get all four of them out. It was so frustrating because in terms of body you feel like you can play. You are not. injured, but it has a great effect. “
Completed, Mount, 22, is making up for lost time. “I have no problems and I can fully concentrate on football.” He has started his last six games and his goal against Everton meant he has already equaled his best tally of seven Premier League goals.
He had set a goal of 10 for the season, but no more. “I’m not happy, I want to score more and more. It’s an important part of my game and it means a lot to me.”
A change of role under Tuchel has opened up possibilities.
“My first year or two I played in a bit deeper role like an eight. Now I’m playing higher as a 10-shot winger, so this gives me more opportunities to get in the box. They want me in the box. and be a threat to the future, so that’s my big goal. “
Statistics show that Mount is having more touches in the opponent area than ever, and therefore also more shots. “I’ve seen this improvement in the last few games in terms of the chances I’m getting now just from trying to get into the box,” he says.
“Having more touches in the opposition box shows it is working.”
His pass to the right is now considered somewhat unusual for a right footed player. “Last year I was mainly on the left. I got used to cutting inside to my right a lot last season. Now maybe there is more attention to cross and go down the line to cut balls.”
But his relationship with fellow academy graduate Reece James, someone he has known “for a long time,” is blossoming. It was James who played the ball on his way to scoring the lead against Everton, his fifth assist of the season. “He played brilliantly.”
The combined play between the two could be Chelsea’s best weapon.
“I know how he plays and I know how he likes to combine with someone. It is us on the right who try to create opportunities and work with each other. When he moves in, I go out, when I move in, he stays wide. the best of each other “.
Mount went outside for Everton’s goal, just as he did when he landed a volley against West Ham. But his left-footed shot against Leeds showed why he is thriving in this new role – he also has the ability to make piercing runs to the near post.
“It’s a different position with different demands, but I feel comfortable walking in and ending with my weaker foot. I’ve always tried to work to be a threat with both of them.”
His first nine Premier League goals came with his favorite right shoe, but Leeds’ goal was made in his home garage under the tutelage of his father. He even wore socks of different colors, teaching the brain the importance of using both feet.
“I remember he used to tell me so I would go over there and kick a ball into the wall 100 times with each foot without fail,” recalls Mount.
“I remember being there hour after hour kicking that ball. I’ve been doing it for years. It just helps that feeling, that touch, because you don’t want it to feel differently when you’re on your left foot to your right. This was definitely a great help for me.
“The ball comes into the box and you have no idea how it will land. You can’t have thoughts in your head, like, ‘It’s on my left, I’m not going to hit it.’ You just have to take it slow and hit the target. That’s exactly what I’m trying to do. “
There was a gesture of silence towards the Leeds fans away at Stamford Bridge. They remember him from his time on loan to rivals Derby County. “Fans forget nothing, do they? So they gave me some stick, but you want it back and forth. I thrive.”
As a young Portsmouth fan, he is looking forward to Chelsea’s two consecutive games against Southampton and Leeds in April. Especially with both of them coming home. “This is even better. It will obviously be hostile, but you have to use it. I love it.”
This is the kind of mentality that quickly won over Tuchel. When he was barred from the German’s first team selection in January, there were concerns. The mount started the next seven and soon became a favorite. The new manager has elevated his game.
“He definitely improved my attacking game. I had never played as high as I did under him before in my career. It’s about getting more into the box, being more clinical, the final pass. It’s about putting really pressure on him. on myself to be someone who creates. “
The pressure is on everyone at Chelsea now. Only Manchester City have beaten them at Stamford Bridge this season, but points have leaked in three of their last four home games. The leaders have now opened a six-point gap on Mount’s team.
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“When you put pressure on yourself to win the Premier League, every game brings pressure, every point counts. For a while we were first, we drew a few games and dropped to third place. This shows that if you lose points, the race can finish very quickly.
“The title has always been our goal. We want to be up there. More than ever this season, we feel we have a great chance. We can definitely do it. We have confidence. But we have to be humble and focused too. We have to continue to do well. bases “.
If Chelsea can do it, maybe there will be another tattoo.
“I don’t think I can do that for every trophy, otherwise I’d be covered by the end of my career hopefully,” he laughs. “But we’ll see. This is the goal. This is the dream.”
Mason Mount spoke at the launch of the new Call of Duty: Warzone “Caldera” map, set in the Pacific. Call of Duty will offer Pacific flights and accommodations to lucky winners. For your chances of winning, click here to enter.