Top pundits Ian Wright and Ashley Cole feel Mason Mount is being unfairly targeted by the media when he plays for England.
Mount, 21, earned his 11th Three Lions cap in England’s comfortable 3-0 friendly victory over Republic of Ireland on Thursday. The Chelsea man played 73 minutes of the match before giving way to 17-year-old Jude Bellingham.
Mount enjoyed his breakthrough season with the Blues in 2019-2020. He also won his first England cap against Bulgaria in Euro 2020 qualifying in September last year.
Gareth Southgate has stuck with the youngster, handing him five starts over the past 14 months. Despite a series of solid displays, he has yet to win over the media, and been targeted on social media.
There have been calls for Jack Grealish to play instead after his impressive Aston Villa form. The pair both started against Ireland and worked well together for 61 minutes when Grealish was substituted.
Criticism on social media shows no signs of abating and Wright pulled no punches in his assessment of the situation.
“You know what? I think it’s disgraceful the way people have talked about Mason Mount getting his berth in front of whoever,” he told ITV. “Mount is in there on credit and what he’s able to do. It’s unfair the amount of stick he gets for being chosen by Gareth.”
Cole knows all about the pressure of playing for England and Chelsea. The 39-year-old won 107 caps for his country while making 338 appearances for the Stamford Bridge club.
He feels it is pointless to make comparisons between the players and echoed Wright’s thoughts on Mount.
“You can’t compare them,” he said. “The quality that Mason brings to not just this England team but the Chelsea team.
“He brings that energy, the willingness to run and graft.”
Pundits join forces to back Mount
One man who knows a bit about playing at the top level is ex-Manchester United and Ireland star Roy Keane. He too believes the Blues ace has the all-round package to make a difference at the top level.
“I’ve heard Roy mention it a lot of times about that desire and work ethic,” continued Cole. “It’s a must and it is a standard. He brings that week in week out but with quality as well so I think it’s unfair to compare them.”
England are next in action on Sunday when they must beat Belgium to stand a chance of Nations League progression. It remains to be seen if Mount is involved, with a number of top stars set to return to the fray.
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