London (AFP) – Frank Lampard has hailed the “exceptional” example set by Mason Mount as the Chelsea manager tries to keep his star-studded squad happy.
Mount has emerged as one of Lampard’s most trusted players only a year after making his Chelsea debut.
A product of the Chelsea academy, the 21-year-old midfielder was a revelation last season and has maintained his progress this term by playing in all five of Chelsea’s games despite the arrivals of Kai Havertz, Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech.
Mount missed the decisive penalty in Chelsea’s shoot-out League Cup defeat at Tottenham on Tuesday, but Lampard will not lose faith in a player that his caught his eye since he had him on loan at Derby in his first season as a manager.
Asked how much he admired Mount’s rise, Lampard said: “I think it is exceptional and there is a lot more to come from Mason.
“That is part of the great thing about working with someone who has that attitude and mindset.
“He should be very happy and proud with what he has done in the last year and the thing about Mason is he always wants to be better. He is a pleasure to work with.
“Mason has a lot more levels to go up in the game. He is a humble lad who has had a real dream to play for Chelsea.
“He has gone and attacked that dream with the talent he has. He’s made it with pure hard work.”
– ‘Front it up’ –
Lampard’s £200 million ($255 million) injection of new blood into the Chelsea squad has given him a more talented line-up, but also a selection headache as he searches for the best way to gel his new signings.
Club captain Cesar Azpilicueta has lost his regular place in the side, while Antonio Rudiger and Marcos Alonso could reportedly join Ross Barkley, who has gone on loan to Aston Villa, in leaving the club before Monday’s transfer deadline.
But he has no qualms about dealing with difficult conversations with his players about team selections.
“It is part of my job. That is one of the most interesting parts and can be one of the most difficult parts, if you are dropping people who want to play,” Lampard said.
“Even though there can be difficult conversations, players will respect that. In years gone by managers might have just dropped players in that old-school type of way, ‘deal with it’.
“Now I try be as honest and open as I can. When you have those conversations it helps you build a relationship for good and for bad. It’s important you have that open dialogue.”
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