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Decoding Mount

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After more than a month of dragged negotiations with both parties clawing for every inch, Mason Mount’s transfer from Chelsea to Manchester United has been agreed for a fee of £55 million plus £5 million in add-ons. Now the attention turns to his fit at the new club. So, what position does Mason Mount play? Where will Erik ten Hag look to place him? We have a look

Mason Mount best position

In his own words, Mason Mount’s best position is that of a “traditional midfielder”.

It means that he sees himself as a No 8, i.e., a central midfielder with the license to break forward when the opportunity arises but is equally comfortable tracking back and tackling to win the ball back.

In footballing terms, he can be termed as a box-to-box midfielder.

It suits his game the best, as he’s not the most creative player, like Bruno Fernandes, but more of a between-the-lines operator who likes to press endlessly and outsprints the opposition.

Due to his elite athleticism, his gifts are best utilised in a box-to-box role, where he can impact the game at both ends.

Therefore, it is no surprise that his signing has rendered Fred expendable. Mount, in over-simplified terms, is an upgraded and consistent version of Fred.

Unlike Fred, he is not a pressing trigger for the opposition, as he has the skills to pass or dribble his way out of pressure.

From there, he is more secure with the ball to move it forward. Fred is prone to giving the ball away in sticky situations, causing his defenders to run back towards their own goal. Mount is far more careful with the ball.

At United, his signing might help the club transition to a 4-3-3 setup. Last season, United played in a 4-2-3-1 formation.

Casemiro’s defensive excellence made it work in most games but it was painfully clear at times that Christian Eriksen is not suited to playing as a deeper midfielder. He was bypassed too easily by the opposition and despite his best efforts, he looked to be running out of gas late into the season.

With Mount, United can play a midfield three of Casemiro, Mount, and Fernandes. It will have all three components which make a midfield work.

In Casemiro, it has the screener who protects the defence. In Mount, it has the box-to-box threat with elite athleticism and capable ball-playing skills. In Fernandes, it has the risk-taker and chance-creator.

Also read: The Mason Mount stalker case which might have affected his performances last season

This will demote Eriksen to a rotation role which arguably should have been his role anyways. Frenkie de Jong’s failed pursuit last summer overextended the Dane and the effects were clear to see.

Against teams who play in a low block, Eriksen can come in for Mount as the more progressive passer.

What positions can Mason Mount play?

This is where Mount’s value comes to the fore. Despite seeing himself as a traditional No 8, Mount is very versatile.

During his time at Chelsea, he has played as an attacking midfielder, and on either wing.

As an attacking midfielder, he becomes an asset due to his ability to press from the front and his skill to arrive in the box at the opportune time to get the odd goal.

As a winger, he can nullify opposition threats out wide by helping his fullback and helping his team retain possession by keeping it simple.

If Ten Hag is feeling shifty, he can even play Mount as a false 9 due to his underrated link-up play, although Mount himself plays best next to a traditional striker.

In conclusion, Mount is a jack of all trades and master of one. He is the ideal profile to fill multiple holes in the team.

United have long needed first-team players who relegate existing first-teamers to a bench role instead of buying backups. Mount’s signing does exactly that.

With his versatility, lack of injury-proneness, and personality, expect Mount to become the first name on the teamsheet almost immediately. He was Erik ten Hag’s No 1 target and the player would be eager to show the fans why that was the case.

Vatsal Gupta
A die-hard Red Devil, who has straight up not had a good time since 2012. Lives on Korean dramas and books and can often be heard talking about armchair psychological stuff.

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