Southgate: I have admired Mount since he was in England under-16s

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The midfielder is set to make his international bow tomorrow for a coach that has known his potential for some time

Chelsea youngster Mason Mount is likely to earn his first start for England tomorrow and manager Gareth Southgate said he’s been an admirer since the midfielder was in the under-16 set up.

The 20-year-old has made a fast start to life in the Premier League under Frank Lampard, the same head coach he played under last season for Derby County in the Championship.

Mount has four goals in eight Premier League appearances this campaign and has made two substitute appearances for the Three Lions as well.

Now Southgate is expected to give him a chance from the off, but he’s keen to point out that Mount is no overnight success.

“He’s a quality player, an intelligent footballer, presses well, has a real eye for goal, good quality. So, nothing I’ve seen surprises me at all,” the former Middlesbrough manager told a press conference.

“We’ve had him marked as a player from the first time I saw him at St George’s Park. Chelsea would be the same on that, I think.

“Of course he’s now been able to have the opportunity to play in the Premier League and display that against top teams. I think you saw his penalty in the Super Cup [against Liverpool], that was a nice cameo of what he’s about, really.”

Mount is joined in the squad by fellow Chelsea youngsters Tammy Abraham and Fikayo Tomori, and while the latter pair are unlikely to start Southgate is delighted to see products of Chelsea’s academy make it through.

"I think I’ve spoken for a couple of years now about the quality of young players coming through our academies,” he added

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“Chelsea have been at the forefront of that, winning the Uefa Youth League and FA Youth Cup consistently.

“So it’s a shame, maybe, one or two of their youngsters didn’t get that opportunity and have had to go and play elsewhere and might have missed that moment that has been perfect for the likes of Tammy and Mason.

“It’s great timing for them because they’ve had those loan spells and they were probably ready to take that opportunity. So, as a young player, you’ve got ability, you’ve got the work you do but, in the end, you need the opportunity.”

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