Ahead of Chelsea facing Ajax in the Champions League on Tuesday evening, there’s been plenty of coverage around Mason Mount.
The 20 year old spent the 2017/18 season on loan at Vitesse and left a big impression in the Netherlands, especially at the Eredivisie club who have long been Chelsea partners.
A regular for Vitesse, Mount also managed to find the back of the net consistently and impress when on the pitch and in training. The next season he went on loan to Derby County and worked under Frank Lampard, completing a preparation for his Chelsea career which seemed perfect.
Marc van Hintum was technical director at Vitesse at the time Mount was there, and he’s told De Telegraaf just how highly he rates the player: “This is the best Chelsea player I have ever seen at Vitesse. Mason is so incredibly all-round. He can do everything and is extremely good in terms of mentality. I can’t really mention anything he is weak at.
“His completeness makes him exceptional. Even without a transfer ban for Chelsea, he would have one hundred percent for sure been in their first team.”
Vitesse don’t always get their own way when looking to loan players from the English club, and that led to surprise when they were allowed to take Mount away from the Blues for a season, rather than him going to an English loan club instead.
Van Hintum explained: “With Vitesse, as everyone knows, we have a partnership with Chelsea. With our scouts we make an inventory every year of what Chelsea U18, U19 and U23 look like. What would be useful for Vitesse? Who could be eligible for a loan and how does Chelsea feel about it? We have several times gone for players we would like to have, but they preferred to see them gain experience in the Championship. Callum Hudson-Odoi and Tammy Abraham were also on our radar, but were not allowed to go to the Netherlands. Mason had been proclaimed the training’s talent for years on end, so his arrival seemed unfeasible.
“But to our surprise, the Chelsea leadership said yes. I think the policymakers have seen very well that he could physically mature a little with us, while in the Championship he might wilt under the aggressive play.”
Perhaps the highest praise came from former Vitesse coach Henk Fraser, who said: “I have had the pleasure of working with Memphis Depay, Georginio Wijnaldum and Jonathan de Guzman. All of them top players with a great drive at a young age. But I think Mason was even further.
“Initially I did not call him, because I was looking at the physical side and he really still had to take steps. I didn’t have to wait for weeks. It may be a strange comparison, but Mason is very similar to Johan Cruyff. He is wiry, fluid and so fast on the ball and in his head that he never actually enters duels. Just like Frenkie de Jong, you could say.”
Big things are expected from Mount against Ajax tonight, and the biggest expectations may well be from those in Dutch football. The match in general is receiving huge coverage from media in the Netherlands, with De Telegraaf especially running a great build-up.