Your first day in a new job is often filled with nerves, imposter syndrome or questions surrounding your worth. Or maybe that’s just us stepping into the Planet Football offices on a weekday morning.
For Mason Mount, that feeling must have been intensified by approximately 55 million; exactly the amount that took him from his boyhood club Chelsea to Manchester United this summer.
The poster boy of the Cobham production line, Mount had seemed destined to spend his entire career at Stamford Bridge until a series of fumbles by Todd Boehly saw the midfielder seek pastures new.
Mount’s arrival at Old Trafford has been greeted with ambivalence by some, but club legend Andy Cole has praised United’s decision to sign the 24-year-old.
“It’s a positive signing, of course it is,” Cole told Sky Sports. “Fingers crossed everything works out really well for him. He had a difficult season last season at Chelsea, didn’t really play as many games as he would have liked.
“I’m hoping that he can come to Manchester United, enjoy himself and try and bring Man United to the next stage.”
As United opened their pre-season campaign against Leeds United (in Norway, for some reason), Mount was fielded from the start by Erik ten Hag, who presumably knew all about his opponent’s weakness against competent footballers.
Chomping at the bit, like a cob after a week of solitary confinement, United’s new signing tore into Leeds with relish and took just 10 minutes to hustle himself an opportunity.
Robbing a Leeds defender inside his own half, Mount tore towards goal and attempted a 30-yard lob that redefined the word ‘audacious’.
Unfortunately, his effort floated just over the crossbar of the relieved Leeds goalkeeper. The crowd in Oslo noted a curious sound from the touchline, which turned out to be Ten Hag purring with admiration.
His first season at Old Trafford was undermined by a lack of players who could press like in the manner of elite sides in 2023. Mount has already proven he can do just that.
— FT90Extra ⚽ (@FT90Extra) July 12, 2023
In his first interview as a United player, Mount said: “I’ve always seen myself as a midfielder, a number eight that can obviously get forward, attack, try and score goals, create goals.
“But also be able to do the other side as well and defend and help the team when we’re under pressure.
“And that’s obviously a massive focus of mine, being able to come here and help the boys in that situation. And I know what I can bring to this team.
“Now it’s about going and doing it on the pitch. As I said before, I know the team, I know the players that we have in this squad and what we’re capable of doing and achieving. So yeah, [it’s] hugely exciting for me and I can’t wait to meet all the boys and get going.
“I mean, you look at the players that are in midfield and it’s vastly experienced obviously winning major trophies and there are quality players.
“And being able to kind of learn from them as well and, and bringing my style into the team, that’s what it’s all about.”
The wisdom of signing the England international was less about lifting the ceiling than raising the floor; United have been hamstrung by a lack of squad depth in recent years, relying on the busted flush of McFred to cover a thousand sins.
And, in the time it takes to cook an oven pizza, Mount suggested he possesses the correct attitude, skill and invention to become a fan’s favourite at Old Trafford.
Not bad for your first day in a new job.
By Michael Lee