Born in Portsmouth, capped by England - how Chelsea's Mason Mount and Southampton's James Ward-Prowse flourished at Farlington Marshes

They were two future England internationals whose rich talent was honed alongside each other at Farlington Marshes.

Saturday, 19th October 2019, 8:37 am
Mason Mount tussles with former training partner James Ward-Prowse during their St Mary's clash earlier this month. Picture: Glyn Kirk/AFP

Today Mason Mount and James Ward-Prowse are household names.

Yet as promising schoolboys affiliated to the academies of Chelsea and Southampton respectively, the local Pompey-supporting pair worked together on fulfilling footballing dreams.

Former Havant Town and Newport Isle of Wight manager, Tony Mount, was already overseeing one-on-one coaching sessions with his son.

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Then arrived the call from John Ward-Prowse seeking assistance with his son’s development, a player four years Mason’s senior.

And for around four years, the aspiring Premier League stars regularly spent Saturday or Sunday afternoons training together.

Tony Mount said: ‘A friend of a friend gave John my number and he phoned and asked whether I had coached any individual before, which I had.

‘James was with Southampton under-10s and his dad said: “I’d like to add a little bit to him, there’s a few things he needs to work on, would you talk to me about it?”.

‘Well, I took James for a session and really liked him, the boy is a sponge, he wants to learn – and I was prepared to give him the time.

‘I was already giving Mason one-on-one coaching and he would also come along for sessions at Farlington on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, initially as a ball boy because he’s four years younger than James.

‘Then, as Mason got a little bigger and older, he would join in and the two worked together, right until James reached 14.

‘With James it was very much strengthening his mentality, making him mentally tougher, and he would take everything on board and listen.

‘He wanted to work his socks off and be as good as he could, which rubbed off on Mason, because he was younger. 

‘So it was unbelievable to have both me and John sitting at St Mary's earlier this month to watch our lads marking each other in midfield!’

Chelsea visited St Mary's during the last round of Premier League fixtures before the international break.

Mount netted the second goal for Frank Lampard’s side in a comprehensive 4-1 victory.

And the proud dads have nothing but admiration for the ongoing progress of each other’s talented midfield offspring.

Tony Mount added: ‘James is such a great lad, a great boy to coach as well, and I would also watch him play at every opportunity.

‘John would ask me to watch Southampton under-18s and I would phone him afterwards and say how he needed to improve on this and that, little things we could add.

‘I still speak to John on a regular basis, we are friends. He has followed Mason’s career path and messages and phones me when my son does well – and I am the same with James.’