Frank Lampard has saluted the “faultless attitude” of Mason Mount but is wary of pushing the young midfielder’s credentials as a future Chelsea captain.
A week on from a dressing-room row between a reportedly furious Lampard and defender Marcos Alonso at West Brom, Chelsea’s manager made the case for Mount being a model professional.
Lampard declined to talk in detail about the case of Alonso, who was said to have watched some of the second half of the game at the Hawthorns from the Chelsea team bus.
But in terms of how it sat within the culture he is trying to establish at Chelsea, Lampard was clear that his players must “stick together in every moment” and insisted he would not hold a grudge.
When it comes to 21-year-old Mount, Lampard is certain he has a player whose commitment is absolute.
Mount’s penalty miss against Tottenham in the EFL Cup shoot-out on Tuesday has been brushed off by his manager, who missed spot-kicks himself on occasion in his own playing career.
What is clear to Lampard is that the academy product has something special. Whether that leads to the captaincy is a different matter.
“I don’t want to make that statement, because it might be a way off, it might not be,” Lampard said, on being asked if he considered Mount a future leader.
“Captains come in different shapes and forms and I don’t want to put that burden on his shoulders at this point.
“But what I’d say is he’s got a faultless attitude in terms of how he approaches the game. That’s what has got him into this position so far.
Where have we seen that before?
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“He gets picked regularly in the England squad because I know Gareth Southgate and [England assistant] Steve Holland have absolute respect for how he comes and trains and performs for them.
“There’s a fascination with Mason. He’s homegrown and he’s a young player who has come in and got regularly into the team.
“I understand sometimes that when you’re homegrown and young, there can be people who look at that and ask questions as to why he’s playing so many games. What will overcome everything is Mason’s talent and attitude.”
Mount has been a fixture in the Chelsea team in the early weeks of this season, but Lampard said there may come a time when he is used more sparingly, given the resources Chelsea possess.
If he drops out of the side, or onto the bench, Lampard has no doubt Mount will be pressing to be back in the side.
“The thing with Mason is that he always wants to be better. What I want to see is the competition that arrived at the club around him make him raise his levels,” Lampard said, ahead of Saturday’s Premier League clash with Crystal Palace.
“Mason has a lot more levels to go up in the game. Mason is a humble lad who has had a real dream to play for Chelsea. The thing that has made him special is he’s gone and attacked that dream with the talent he has and made it through pure hard work.
“He’s naturally very fit, so that part has helped at the start of the season. Things may change around that, but Mason’s going to be a big part of this squad.”