Arguably no better feeling beats watching a home-grown player represent the first team for football fans. Same could be said of Chelsea fans and their affinity towards Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Mason Mount. Both players became blue at a kiddy age of 8 and 6-year old respectively.
The main likeliness of these stars is they both eventually made it to the first team – a feat usually meant for extraordinary talents like John Terry. Another is how they became the heart of the midfield during their respective breakthrough seasons. Tactically, both suited as an advanced midfielder. More similarities can be drawn between them but who had a better breakthrough year?
Watching both seasons, I surely have a bias toward Mason Mount. He is a younger player with little experience who hadn’t been on numerous loan moves like Loftus-cheek. Despite his youthfulness, he had to fight off several critiques. From Chelsea fans and the English national team fans. He was termed Lampard’s son and get sticks every time his name appears in the lineup. But he dealt with these struggles maturely.
However, loving Mount’s character doesn’t erase the Loftus-cheek moments from my memory. RLC – to be fair – also didn’t have it easy getting into the team. He put in several impressive performances on-loan at Crystal Palace to show Chelsea what he is made of. These performances were rewarded with a call-up to the England 2018 World Cup team. He didn’t just wrestle to make the Chelsea team, he displayed dominant presentation of himself before the SW6 spectators.
Looking at Mason Mount, his reliable fitness was instrumental in Chelsea 19/20 season. He was one of the few who consistently maintain fitness throughout the whole season. That is tremendous from the supposed ‘physically weak’ 20-year old. His contribution played a great part in putting Chelsea in the top four.
However, Ruben Loftus-Cheek in his breakthrough season scored a PL goal lesser than Mason Mount 19/20 season despite playing deeper in the midfield. He also played 13 fewer games. The best part about Ruben’s season is that he showed he can decide games singlehandedly. Rising up to lift teammates, bullying off opponents, manifesting the Chelsea spirit. Never give up! It was like watching a regen from the JT era.
“I think he can become one of the best midfielders, not only in England but in Europe,” Maurizio Sarri speaking after a brilliant RLC performance in the UEL, “His potential as a player is very, very, high. Physically, technically and tactically he is improving.”
BT Sport Pundit, Glenn Hoddle shared his thought: “There’s more to come from this lad, by the way, we haven’t seen the best of him yet – if he’s given the shirt, plays consistently. I think he’s frustrated; I see the frustration in his game”
He scored the opening goal against Watford, a goal which sealed our Champions League qualification for the following season. He scored an important goal in the second leg of UEL semi-final at home which Chelsea won on penalties. He came behind the ‘great’ Eden Hazard in the Chelsea Player of the Season Award.
RLC surely didn’t play many games due to his fitness struggles, but a lot of managers would say “quality of matches over quantity”. It’s arguably more about the impact the player made during his availability than his regular fitness. This is what defines Loftus-Cheek perfectly.
Mason Mount, however, is a fast and agile player. Unlike RLC’s rigidity, he is flexible in pressing, combines with the striker and brings the team into play with his energy. The reason why he is the most suited player to Frank Lampard’s system. A big epitome for youngsters, he is the first Chelsea academy graduate to make 50 appearances in his debut season.
Finally, the importance of both players to their breakthrough team should be considered when choosing who was the best. RLC played in a good team that comprises of Eden Hazard; established strikers in Alvaro Morata, Gonzalo Higuain and a balanced system.
It’s a different story for Mount who took up a challenge with his academy peers to defend the badge against experienced Premier League sides. It’s feasible to understand when you take RLC out of the 2018/29 team and take Mount out of the 2019/20 team. Which team will miss most?
Both had a brilliant season, choosing the better player between them will be influenced by fan’s emotional memory of their moments. These are the talking points surrounding them. Now you decide, who is the better player? RLC 2018/19 or Mount 2019/20, which version of the Made-In-Cobham season will you choose?