England Gareth Southgate believes Mason Mount is only now getting the credit he deserves because Thomas Tuchel now manages him at Chelsea and not Frank Lampard.
Southgate is a huge admirer of the 22-year-old and named him in his starting XI for the seventh straight game for Sunday’s World Cup qualifier against Albania, with the midfielder scoring England’s second goal in a 2-0 win.
However, his and Lampard’s loyalty to the player has been questioned in some quarters, something Southgate believes has only changed following the switch of manager at Stamford Bridge.
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What did Southgate say?
After managing Mount at Derby and then Chelsea, Lampard was accused of favouritism when he continued to pick the midfielder in his side.
Those accusations followed Mount to the international level, despite scoring four goals in 15 international appearances.
Lampard was sacked in January and replaced by the more experienced Tuchel, who continued to pick Mount, and Southgate says that should finally silence his critics once for all.
Speaking after Sunday’s win in Tirana, Southgate said of Mount: “He is a great player, but I was saying this in the autumn. I suppose now that Thomas Tuchel picks him, everybody will agree. When it was Frank, it doesn't count for some reason.
“He is an exceptional player. He finds space intelligently, he manipulates the ball very well, he creates chances and he can score goals. I thought his performance was excellent tonight.”
Reflecting on the rest of the team's performance, Southgate added: “I thought Phil Foden was also good. I thought our attacking four were good. [Declan] Rice and [Kalvin] Phillips read the game well, competed well and won the ball back quickly. We had over 70% possession and controlled the game. In the end, we created more chances and we could have scored more.”
The bigger picture
England's win in Albania made it two wins from two in World Cup qualifying with Wednesday’s home clash with Poland to come.
Despite featuring in both matches so far this international break, Mount is likely to feature once more at Wembley as the Three Lions chase a third successive qualifying victory.
He will then return to Chelsea where he has already made 39 appearances in all competitions, with Tuchel’s side fourth in the Premier League and still in the Champions League and FA Cup.