Mason Mount started in the attacking midfield role for Chelsea in their opening Premier League match, away to Manchester United. That’s quite the vote of confidence for a 20 year-old with no Premier League experience under his belt. So, what kind of player exactly is Mason Mount?
Last year, on loan to Derby, under then Derby now Chelsea, manager Frank Lampard, Mount split his time between attacking midfield, where he spent just over 1000 minutes, and the left side of center midfield where he spent 1773 minutes. This makes a quick look at his outputs tricky. On the whole he definitely doesn’t pop on the midfield radar.
He also doesn’t appear as much above average on the attacking midfielder, though it’s a little more encouraging.
Despite those radars, there are reasons to think that Mount might have a strong future. His nine goals from midfield are encouraging, and fairly reflect his underlying expected goals. While there are a lot of speculative attempts on his shot chart, there are also a good number of efforts with his feet from front and central.
Defensively, his pressure map is also fairly impressive. The fact that he only has an average number of pressures on the midfield radar is actually encouraging given that he spent a third of his time at attacking midfield. And the pressure map picks up the range of his defensive activity.
As his career progresses if Mount can either consistently put up the rangy defensive numbers from the attacking midfield spot, or replicate his ability to get into the box if he’s consistently deployed deeper, then there really will be a solid framework to build on.
There is, however, reason to be concerned about his passing ability. He demonstrated neither a particular facility for generating shots for his teammates, nor stood out for moving the ball up the field. His xG assisted for Derby last season was 0.13 per match, fourth on the team. That’s not bad, but it’s not the kind of number that you see in the Championship that makes you think super star in the making. The story of his deep progressions is similar, he was sixth on the team (for players that played more than 1000 minutes). There are all sorts of tactical reasons that this might be the case, but it remains that he has yet to demonstrate at even a Championship level that he is a particularly creative passer. Now he’s being handed the reins at Chelsea. It should be no surprise then that on Sunday he completed exactly one open play pass to striker Tammy Abraham (completed passes are red).
There are definitely things to like about Mount’s game. There are areas where he can legitimately grow and become the kind of star player that every supporter hopes their homegrown talent can blossom into. But, for him to truly become an influential player at the top of the table he’ll have to show some passing ability that he hasn’t yet. If he can add that into the mix then he really might turn into something special.