Pompey fan eyeing European glory and Fratton Park loan
Having conquered Europe at club level, teenage talent Mason Mount is on a mission to do the same with his country.
A dream loan move to Pompey can wait for the time being.
The Portsmouth-born Chelsea midfielder is currently in Azerbaijan preparing for England’s assault on the Uefa European Under-17 Championship.
There he will hope to complete a hat-trick of prestigious trophies to seal a stunning 2015-16 season.
It is a feat Mount is confident he can achieve.
And little wonder.
Back on home soil, the former Purbrook Park pupil has enjoyed a campaign to savour with the mega-rich Londoners.
Last month, despite only recently turning 17, he helped the Blues’ under-19 side win the Uefa Youth League against PSG – the youth equivalent of the Champions League.
And just last week, Mount followed that up with a starring role in the club’s FA Youth Cup triumph over Manchester City at under-18 level.
A goal and an assist in a 4-2 aggregate victory arriving in front of interested spectators – including Sergio Aguero, Vincent Kompany, Cesc Fabregas and John Terry, to name but a few.
Another highlight of his campaign came last November, when Mount shot to national stardom with a wonder goal against Germany in a 2-1 win for the Three Lions.
And as he prepares to tackle Sweden on Friday, before further clashes with group C rivals France and Denmark, the Pompey fan is optimistic his remarkable season can continue.
And in the future?
Who knows, maybe a chance to swap a seat in the stands at Fratton Park for a spell on the hallowed turf.
‘I am a big Pompey fan,’ said Mount.
‘But I play Saturdays now so it is quite hard to get down to games.
‘I have been to a couple this season, though, and there is still a great atmosphere – it is a great club.
‘I used to go quite a lot when I was younger and the club was in the Premier League.
‘I have great memories of watching them in the FA Cup.
‘And if Pompey make it to Wembley for the League Two play-off final, I will definitely be there supporting them.
‘At the moment, playing in Chelsea’s youth team and being involved in under-21s football is great for me.
‘But looking forward one or two years, working for those three points at a Football League club would be ideal and hopefully help me to further my career.
‘Going on loan to Pompey would be a great experience for me.
‘It would be a dream to play in front of the fans at Fratton Park and be out on the pitch I have been watching from in the stands for a very long time.’
Talk of an intriguing potential spell at Fratton Park is for the future, though.
For now it is full steam ahead as Mount looks to spearhead a talented England under-17 side to Euro glory – a challenge that holds no fear, only optimism.
He said: ‘I think we have a very good chance in Azerbaijan.
‘We have France, Sweden and Denmark in our group.
‘We played holders France and beat them in the Montaigu Tournament (in 2015 at under-16s level), which we won.
‘We have a very strong team.
‘Some of the other boys in our squad have played at first-team level for their clubs before.
‘We know as England players we are representing a top side worldwide and at under-17 level we feel we can do very well.
‘As far as the travelling and being away from home and family goes, that is fine for me – it’s been great to play in every qualifying game.
‘From a very young age I have travelled around the world in competitions with Chelsea, so I have become very used to it.’
The ultimate goal for Mount is to continue on the pathway to the full national side, as well as breaking into Chelsea’s first team.
Neither of those ambitions were harmed by his wonder strike against Germany earlier in the season.
And the attacking midfielder was given a glimpse into what life is like as an England star when Daniel Sturridge and Adam Lallana presented him with a Three Lions age-group cap – in recognition of his performances this term.
‘Going back to the Germany game, I scored a very good goal and was also pleased to make an assist on the night as well,’ continued Mount
‘That was a massive game for me – and it is one I will look back on proudly for a very long time.
‘I now want to prove that I can do it at the top level.
I am hopeful that I can do it at first-team level for Chelsea and also do it for England in the first team if I get the chance to.
‘At first-team level for England you get a cap after every game but for the under-17s you are given one for all of your games throughout the season.
‘It was great to be presented mine by Adam Lallana and Daniel Sturridge.
‘Afterwards, we just sat down and I was asking them questions about their careers and how they prepare for big games.
‘They also talked about the social side of their lives – it was a great experience and I got a lot out of it.’
Another great experience for Mount was being invited to train with Chelsea’s senior squad this season.
Having trained with the club since the age of six – alongside Pompey, before electing to go with the Londoners exclusively aged eight – it was a proud moment for the youngster.
And a first professional contract, signed in January, suggests there could be more opportunities to rub shoulders with the stars of Stamford Bridge.
Mount said: ‘I have trained twice this season with Chelsea’s first team which has been a great experience – obviously that is where I would like to be in a couple of years.
‘The first team make you feel very welcome and comfortable and also welcome the competition.
‘Training with the first team was a massive goal of mine at the start of the season and hopefully I can train more and more with them at the end of this season and going into next season as well.’
Chelsea’s Academy system has been regarded by some as a fruitless passage into the club’s first team, with owner Roman Abramovich’s wealth enabling them to buy the finished article from elsewhere.
Recently, though, the emergence of Reuben Loftus-Cheek has given hope to the Blues’ current crop of youngsters, Mount included.
And the son of former non-league player and manager of Havant Town and Newport, Tony Mount, believes opportunities will be there for him – if he can prove himself worthy.
‘If you are good enough you will get the chance to play here now,’ added Mount.
‘And when you do play, you have to take that opportunity.
‘Reubs is obviously the one at the moment who has started pushing and is getting game time in the first team.
‘As a younger player looking up to him, that gives you hope that you might get a chance.’
And what of his achievements so far for the Londoners – not least a trophy-laden last month at the club.
Mount reflected: ‘Being involved in the Champions League with the under-19s was great – as a 17-year-old, I was one of the younger ones.
‘But coming on in the semi-final against Anderlecht and getting two assists was pleasing.
‘Being involved in the final against PSG and winning a medal was very pleasing as well!
‘With the FA Youth Cup, to win that for the third year in a row as a club and emulate the Busby Babes is a massive achievement.
‘The pressure was on us but we welcomed that – playing in big games is what you want to do.
‘It has been a great season.’
It’s not over yet, though, and if Mount has anything to do with it, then international glory could yet be added to his domestic success.
Fellow Pompey fans will no doubt be keeping tabs on his progress.