'Wow, who is this guy?!' - How Mount left Derby team-mates stunned upon loan arrival

Mason Mount Chelsea 2019-20

Chelsea midfielder Mason Mount left his new team-mates at Derby County stunned upon his arrival at the Championship club in 2018, Rams goalkeeping coach Shay Given has revealed.

Given was hired by Frank Lampard after the former midfielder took the reins at Pride Park just under two years ago and has remained as part of Phillip Cocu's backroom team following Lampard's departure to become Chelsea manager.

Mount contributed 11 goals and six assists during his year on loan at Derby as Lampard guided the club to the Championship play-off final and has kicked on from there to become a regular in the Chelsea first team as well as a full England international.

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And his development has come as no surprise to Given, who recalls the impression he made during his first training session in the east Midlands.

"The first training with us left the players thinking: 'Wow, who is this guy?!'" Given tells Goal. "We knew about him as a young prospect at Chelsea who had done well in Holland [on loan at Vitesse], but it is not until he is actually on the training ground that you really see what kind of player he is.

"He was some player for us. His finishing, power, pace and work rate was great. He is just desperate to be the best he can be. Of course, he has played so many games this season for Chelsea and he was one of our best players at Derby.

"Even at Derby, they thought what a player he is going to be from the first training session and he went on from there."

Mount is one of a number of young players Lampard has given opportunities to since taking over at Stamford Bridge, and they have, for the most part, repaid his faith in them.

The likes of Mount, Tammy Abraham, Fikayo Tomori, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Billy Gilmour have played a role in lifting the Blues to fourth place in the Premier League and putting them on the cusp of securing Champions League football presuming the campaign is finished following the coronavirus shutdown.

And Given believes that Lampard has not been given enough credit for what he has achieved during his first season back in west London.

"Frank came into Derby and really hit the ground running. You could tell he was going to do well from the day he arrived," he says. "Now he has had Chelsea in a transitional period, but all the players he has brought through have been fantastic.

Frank Lampard Chelsea 2019-20

"People forget that he dealt with a transfer ban and Eden Hazard - one of the best players in the world - leaving in the summer. To do the job Frank has done at Chelsea has been brilliant.

"You hope he is there for many years. It is great for a young coach such as Frank to be given an opportunity like that and hopefully he can keep improving and get even better as well. He is a Chelsea legend as a player and he wants to be a Chelsea legend as a manager.

"His will to work and dedication is unbelievable. Hopefully he gets the right backing so he will be a big success."

Back at Derby, Cocu has overseen an up and down season as Lampard's successor, with the club sat five points off the play-off positions with nine games to play should the campaign resume.

The Rams made headlines earlier in the campaign after they announced the signing of Wayne Rooney, with the former Manchester United forward having played a key role in turning around their form since his debut in January.

And Given reserves special praise for the 34-year-old amid hopes that Derby will be given the chance to close the gap on the top six.

"We are really like a Premier League club in the Championship," he says. "We need to, as staff and players, to try and get Derby into the Premier League. Before it was shut down, we were on a very good run actually.

"In the Championship, if you can go into a run in the last few months of the season then you have a chance of making the play-offs. We felt we had a chance of doing that.

"Wayne Rooney has been fantastic since he joined the club both on and off the pitch. What a fantastic captain and leader. He is still a brilliant player, and it is an honour to be with him in the same team.

Wayne Rooney Derby County 2019-20

For the younger players at Derby, it is really good to learn from someone like him because it is remarkable what he has done in his career. Every day he is the last one on the training ground doing free-kicks and finishing drills. He is always working and improving. That just sets the bar for everyone else."

Though Given has still been doing some coaching remotely since Covid-19 brought an end to live sport in the UK in March, his attention has now turned to helping those on the frontline of combatting the virus.

Having read stories of NHS staff not being able to access vital personal protective equipment (PPE), the former Newcastle, Manchester City and Ireland goalkeeper has set up the CareGiven charity to help raise funds and resolve supply chain issues that have limted the procurement and delivery of PPE to doctors, nurses and other hospital staff.

"It is like going into a game of football with no goalkeeping gloves and boots," Given says. "CareGiven has been set up to try to get PPE to the frontline because these people are putting themselves in danger to help us.

"We talk about heroes on the football pitch but those working on the frontline a real heroes. Being called a hero from what you do on the football pitch can be over the top even if you play well. The real heroes are on the frontline as doctors, nurses and other specialists.

Shay Given quote GFX

"You take it for granted sometimes that the NHS is there but these people are here to save our lives. They do it and that’s their job. I make saves in a goal and they save people’s live. They are heroes in my eyes. They deserve to work with the right equipment."

Shay Given is backing the CareGiven charity, which is raising funds to provide PPE for NHS frontline staff  in the UK.

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