Mason Mount grateful for relief offered by England duty from ongoing ‘concern’ at Chelsea

The high-pressure stakes of national team duty and competing for a starting berth a matter of months before a World Cup may offer a challenge for even the most battle-hardened footballer, but for Mason Mount the current international break has offered blessed relief.

The uncertainty – or “concern” to use the Chelsea midfielder’s own word – surrounding off-field events at Stamford Bridge since club owner Roman Abramovich was sanctioned by the UK Government has hardly effected results.

But the fall-out from the war in Ukraine has clearly had an impact on the club’s employees, at all levels, which explains why Mount has found the safe haven of England’s get-together this week so inviting.

“I’ve been at the club since I was six years old and something like this has not happened before so it can be a concern,” said Mount.

“At the beginning, and even now, we don’t really know where it’s going and what’s happening the next day.

“So it’s difficult, but we focus on our football and what we can do is try and win as many games as we can and obviously I’m away with England so that stuff is kind of parked and I’m focusing on England duty and what I can do while I’m away this week.

“And then, when I go back to Chelsea next week, then I’m sure we will be informed about what’s going on because I haven’t heard anything recently.

“I missed the last (England) camp so I was eager to get back in and see all the boys and get back to training. Because when you’re away from it you definitely do miss it, because of how close we are as a team. It’s so good to be back.

“So, yeah, that break, it probably does help being away and then hopefully by the time we do go back some things are sorted out or we have some answers about what’s going on in the future. But we’ll see.”

Despite Abramovich’s ties with Russian president Vladimir Putin throwing the club’s future into jeopardy, Thomas Tuchel’s men have responded impressively.

Days after the invasion, Chelsea lost the Carabao Cup Final to Liverpool on penalties but have followed that with six consecutive victories, the last four since Abramovich was sanctioned.

“It can sometimes be hard to focus on football when a lot of things are going on around you,” said Mount.

“But I feel like it maybe has made it a bit easier, that maybe there’s a game coming up so we can’t look at what’s going on away from the football pitch, we focus on the game and we focus on the three points and try to win

“Hopefully that can continue. You don’t know what’s going on from day to day, so to focus on football and what we can have an effect on is what we do.”

The war in Ukraine has merely provided the latest example of geo-politics interrupting football affairs, with the England camp also forcing management and players into addressing controversial issues that surround staging this winter’s World Cup in Qatar.

Mount, at 23, is one of a new generation of young sports stars who readily accept that part of their off-field responsibility is now to voice an opinion on such matters.

“I definitely think in this modern day, even if you are a young footballer, to be able to speak about things that are going on in the world is part of what we do,” he said.

“I mean, you look at the squad and how young we are and what we’ve done over the last couple of years to show how we feel on the pitch about things that have happened away from football. We’re together in it and every decision we make, we speak about.

“We understand the situation that is going on and we try to use our platform to make a change and that’s something we’ll continue to do and that’s something we’re very proud of as a group.

“We want to help the world and make a change and sometimes that’s what we have to focus on.”

On more mundane football matters, Mount and his team mates saw Italy, their conquerors in last summer’s Euros final, slump to a shock exit from this year’s World Cup in losing their play-off to North Macedonia in midweek.

Chelsea’s Jorginho was part of that stunned Italian team, although Mount resisted the temptation to return the good-natured jibes his team mate threw around the Stamford Bridge dressing room following Italy’s success over England. A sympathetic text message was Mount’s only response this week.

“I always mention that ‘Jorgy’ is the joker in the group,” said Mount. “But when it comes to big games against us, there is nothing but respect between us all.

“It’s all about respect. If you look at how far both teams (England and Italy) had to come to get that opportunity in the final, it was a massive amount of work.

“So, no, I won’t be giving him jokes or stick about what’s happened with Italy. It’s hard for me to see a player I have played with for the last three years go through something like that.

“I actually sent him a little message and said, ‘keep your head up, you’ve had an amazing season and hopefully we can go on this season to win some more things together’.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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