When Mason Mount signed for Manchester United from Chelsea in July, the first thing he talked about was his experience of winning trophies and his desire to do that with his new club, who had recently won their first piece of silverware in six years by lifting the Carabao Cup.
“Everyone can see that the club has made big steps forward under Erik ten Hag. Having met with the manager and discussed his plans, I couldn’t be more excited for the seasons ahead and am ready for the hard work expected here," Mount told United's official media. “I am hugely ambitious and I know how amazing it feels to win major trophies and what it takes to do it. I will be giving everything to experience that again at Manchester United.”
Mount's words painted a hugely positive vision of his future, but they have not rung true. After making so much progress last season, United have gone backwards in their second campaign under Ten Hag. The Red Devils have lost an astonishing 10 out of 21 games in all competitions, are out of the Carabao Cup and on the brink of exiting the Champions League.
They went into last the international break sat sixth in the Premier League and the most in-form team in the English top-flight, but the Red Devils have been riding their luck: all of their league wins have been by one goal and come against teams in the bottom half of the table. Saturday's 1-0 loss at Newcastle was a timely reminder of what happens to this team when they come up against the Premier League's top sides.
Mount has also gone backwards. He has been the club's most disappointing signing of the summer, having just one assist in the Carabao Cup to show for his £60 million ($75m) transfer fee and not starting a league match since early October.
Christian Eriksen's injury, however, looked to have given Mount an ideal opportunity to reignite his career and lift United's miserable season. Eriksen remains on the sidelines after being forced off against Luton Town with a knee problem, opening up another place in United's midfield after Casemiro was ruled out for the rest of 2023 with a hamstring injury.
Mount has made just four Premier League starts for United, but was set for a run in Ten Hag's starting XI for a crucial sequence of matches, which included Wednesday's meeting his former club at Old Trafford. However, Ten Hag confirmed off the back of the international break that Mount had suffered in injury in training which looked set to rule him out for at least three weeks.
This could have been a key moment for Mount to prove his worth, but instead is just the next stage of what is becoming a waking nightmare.