Compared to Johan Cruyff and tipped for a Real or Barcelona move after his super spell at Vitesse…. Here’s how Mason Mount was set up for Chelsea stardom in Holland as he gets set to face Ajax again
- Mason Mount says his loan to Dutch side Vitesse kick-started his career
- Now in Chelsea’s first-team, he will face Dutch giants Ajax on Tuesday night
- Vitesse team-mates and coaches rave about Mount’s impact in 2017-18
Mason Mount has made extraordinary forward strides in his career so far this season. But in Holland, much like west London, there is little surprise at his emergence.
A trip to Vitesse has widely been mocked as being a graveyard for Chelsea youngsters down the years – but not so much for Mount.
Mount spent a whirlwind season on loan at Chelsea’s Dutch outpost in 2017-18, cutting his teeth and installing himself as an integral player in the setup of the Eredivisie side. He played 38 times, gaining Europa League experience, and scored 14 goals as Vitesse finished sixth.
Now, after another loan spell at Derby, he is set to take centre stage once again in Chelsea blue when they host Ajax in the Champions League on Tuesday night.
Mason Mount’s time on loan at Vitesse in Holland got his professional career up and running
Mount played 38 times for Vitesse in the 2017-18 campaign, scoring 14 times for the club
Mount said that his season-long loan spell in Holland helped him to ‘grow as a person’
But for signs of just how good Mount, 20, could go on to become, it is as fruitful to reflect on his time abroad as it will be to watch on the Stamford Bridge pitch on Tuesday night.
The coach that took charge of Mount, Henk Fraser – now at Sparta Rotterdam – credits the England international as being as promising a player as he has ever worked with.
‘I have had the pleasure of working with Memphis Depay, Georginio Wijnaldum and Jonathan de Guzman,’ Fraser told Dutch publication De Telegraaf. ‘All of them top players with a great drive at a young age. But I think Mason was further (along).’
But the ultimate praise from Fraser saw him compare Mount to one of football’s eternal greats.
‘It may be a strange comparison, but Mason is very similar to Johan Cruyff. He is wiry, watery and so fast at the ball and in his head that he never actually enters the duels. Just like Frenkie de Jong.’
And ahead of Tuesday’s crucial Group H encounter, Mount can reflect on a 3-2 victory in Vitesse colours during his time in Holland. While he didn’t hit the back of the net in that match, he played the full 90 minutes.
After his year with Vitesse, Mount’s progression continued via a loan spell at Derby
His Derby boss was Frank Lampard, who now is overseeing the midfielder as Chelsea boss
The 20-year-old Mount has gone on to establish himself as a key player at Chelsea this season
MOUNT AT VITESSE
And the plaudits regarding Mount’s impact do not stop with Fraser. Mitchell van Bergen, who now plays for Heerenveen, was a team-mate of Mount’s during his tenure in Holland.
‘I look at Chelsea matches more often because of him,’ Van Bergen told NOS in October.
‘He got his chance there and took hold of it. That doesn’t surprise me. Mason is going to reach the absolute top.
‘In the Premier League he will be a complete player and I see him eventually ending up at Barcelona or Real Madrid. I think he will fit there.’
Of course, Mount’s following loan spell at Derby has also proven vital to his development and working so closely with Frank Lampard will have done his prospects no harm now they are both cemented into the Chelsea fold. He has played 16 times already this season, scoring four goals.
But whatever Mount goes on and achieves in his career, his time in Holland will undoubtedly have played a key role in his development.
Mount has broken into the England squad and has won four caps with the senior side
Mount is likely to have a big role to play when Chelsea meet Ajax on Tuesday night
MOUNT AT CHELSEA
APPEARANCES (2019-20): 16
‘It was very important for me to go there at 18 years old, moving countries, and it definitely made me grow as a person,’ he told Chelsea’s website. ‘The technical side of the game out there is so high so it helped that part of my game a lot.
‘It was my first professional loan so getting minutes and playing well was the most important thing and it sort of kick-started my career really.’
Victory for Chelsea on Tuesday evening against Ajax, Holland’s biggest side, would be a major step towards reaching the last-16 of the tournament. There is no greater moment for Mount to demonstrate how quickly he has progressed since Vitesse.