Mason Mount has paid tribute to his father Tony and the part he has played in his career to date for both club and country.
The 19-year-old scored the winning goal on his England U21s debut in last week’s victory over Latvia in Jelgava to put the Young Lions on the verge of qualification for next summer's Euro Finals.
- Born: Portsmouth, 10 January 1999
- Club: Derby County (loan from Chelsea)
- Caps: U16, U17, U18, U19, U21
- Twitter: @mount_mason
It was the latest step up for the midfielder, who is currently on a season-long loan with Derby County from Chelsea after spending an impressive campaign with Vitesse Arnhem in the Netherlands last term.
He’s been a regular for England throughout the development teams too, helping the U19s to their Euro title success of 2017, with his creative and incisive attacking play complemented by a determination to dig in defensively.
And he says it all goes back to his days growing up on the pitches of Portsmouth, under the watchful eye of his dad, when he developed both aspects of his game today.
“He’s been a massive part of my career,” explained Mount, who grew up as a “massive” Pompey fan and remembers heading to Wembley to see them lift the FA Cup in 2008.
“I remember in my garden, or after training during the week, he was always doing stuff with me.
“He took the team that I was in, with a couple of other boys from other academies as well, so he’s been a massive part.
“Borhunt Rovers was the first team I was with and then I played for United Services and that’s when he started managing.
“I don’t just want to be an attacking player who gets into the box and scores goals, I want to do the ugly side as well.
“My dad always said to me growing up from young, you’ve got to do the other side of the game, you can’t always be good on the ball, you’ve got to get back, get involved and make tackles.
“He always said: ‘You’re from Portsmouth, so you need to do that dirty side as well,’ so it’s always been inside me.
“Because I’ve always been one of the smallest players, he said you need to get stuck in and show that just because you’re small, you’re not going to get knocked around easily. You’ve got to be aggressive and not be bullied about so I think that’s why he was tough with me in that sense.”
It was those qualities which came to the fore in Jelgava too, with the Young Lions finding themselves a goal behind on a testing pitch before Mount set up fellow Stamford Bridge squad mate Tammy Abraham for the equaliser and then going on to score a second-half winner.
The victory put Aidy Boothroyd’s team five points clear in their group with just two games to go and in a strong position to reach next summer’s Finals in Italy, but Mount remains calm and reflective when looking both back and forward.
“For me, I try not to look at how ‘big’ anything is,” he added.
“I just want to try and play football on the pitch and do the best I can.
“It was tough with the pitch and they were tough opponents to break down, but in these games you’ve just got to fight and the quality comes out and we got the win in the end.”
The U21s can seal their Euro qualification with a result in their next game with Andorra in Chesterfield. Tickets for the game on Thursday 11 October (7.45pm) are on sale now priced at £10 and £5.