MASON MOUNT wrote essays on Frank Lampard for his homework at the Chelsea Academy.
He based his game on the Stamford Bridge legend — and now can see a path to the first team under new boss Lamps.
For years Blues whizkids got their football education at the club before moving away.
But Lampard will give Mount, and others, a chance next season. And in the 20-year-old he has a player who closely studied the game of the club’s record scorer.
Mount explained: “When we were Under-12s to Under-14s, we had to pick a player to look at and try to take stuff from his game. Frank was the player I chose.
“We had to write a report. We always had to write about the games we played and the training.
“But you could choose any player, it didn’t have to be a Chelsea player.
“The coaches would say, ‘look at this part of his game, look at the defensive part, look at the attacking part, see how he makes it into the box, how he scores goals, how he makes assists’.
“So I’d look at his games and his performances and try to take stuff that I thought could help my game.”
He was the one I always looked up to as a role model, watching his game, trying to learn from him and working first hand with him.
Mount is also a huge admirer of Luka Modric and Andres Iniesta. But Lampard, who netted 211 times for the Blues, was a hero close to home.
Lamps and other first-teamers would wander over to Academy pitches to watch youngsters play and offer hope of breaking into the first team.
Mount said: “For me, as an attacking midfielder, the thing I took from him was how he got into the final third to score goals and make assists.
“He was the one I always looked up to as a role model, watching his game, trying to learn from him and working first hand with him.
“There’s no one better to learn from and speak to day in, day out.”
Chelsea’s transfer ban means no new megastars coming in this summer — and youngsters being given a better chance of playing.
Former Derby boss Lampard has already earmarked Mount as a first-teamer after having him on loan at the Rams last season.
Mount has also spent a season with Dutch side Vitesse. But the England Under-21 midfielder knows he still has to earn his place in the team.
He said: “There are no promises. Not a chance. You have to prove yourself.
“He’s said that before, that it doesn’t matter if you’re young or old, if you’re ready to play, he’s going to play you. It’s exciting times but there’s no given.
“Even if you’ve been at Chelsea since a little boy, it doesn’t matter. Look at the squad and there’s world-class players there.
“So for me, as a young player, I’ve got to work hard in training, prove I can play.
“But I’m learning from these players and that’s best for me. I’m working hard to prove to the manager I can step up and play.”
Mount has also taken a leaf out of Lampard’s book with extra work after training, something the new gaffer did daily as a player.
The youngster added: “Last season, he would always speak to me about doing free-kicks after training and extra shooting.
“So I’d always go to him after training and say, ‘Can we do a few shots and free-kicks’ just to work hard.
“Everyone thinks you don’t worry about what happens off the pitch but that’s one of the main things, in the gym, on the training pitch after training.
“If you can get that extra percentage that’s the main thing.”
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