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Lionel Messi agrees with Declan Rice about Chelsea midfield star Mason Mount

Mason Mount has made an excellent start to the Thomas Tuchel era at Chelsea and it is very possible that the German can help him develop his all-round game for the better in years to come

When Thomas Tuchel arrived at Stamford Bridge to succeed Frank Lampard as Chelsea head coach towards the end of January, some thought that Mason Mount would be one of the biggest losers.

The Chelsea academy graduate had established himself as a first-team regular under Lampard, working with him closely during the duo’s time together at Derby County during the 2018/19 season and then at Stamford Bridge.

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Lampard was a huge fan of Mount and he would be one of the first names on the teamsheet for the Chelsea legend.

Following the former Chelsea head coach’s exit, many tipped Mount to quickly fall out-of-favour, with some insisting that Tuchel would prefer to make the most of players that had cost big-money transfer fees and not risen through the youth ranks.

Those predictions could have not have been further from the truth. In Tuchel’s first 13 games in charge, the German, who will be looking to see his side progress to the FA Cup semi-finals when they lock horns with Sheffield United this lunchtime, has named Mount in his starting line-up on nine occasions, stepping off the bench in two of the other three.

It has already become clear that the England international will have a big part to play in the Chelsea chief’s long-term plans.

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And Tuchel has already declared his admiration for the attacking-midfielder, waxing lyrical about his talents and his potential just a week into his tenure at Stamford Bridge.

Speaking in early February, Tuchel, as quoted by AS, said: “I absolutely agree with the potential that I see, which you mention, with Mason.

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“What I see from outside and what I know now from the inside is that the guy is 100 per cent all the time, even more that he cares a lot about Chelsea. He cares about his team-mates and leaves his heart out there on the pitch.

“If you train with Mason or play with Mason, the one thing you can be sure of is that absolutely he gives 100 per cent. This is the best level to grow from, the best situation to become a top, top, top player.

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“He has everything that is needed to reach higher and higher levels. I don’t know where his limits are but right now we will push him and support him.

“The most important thing is that it comes from inside of him. What makes me very happy is he’s a nice guy, a totally open guy and has a very positive aura and energy in the dressing room and out on the pitch.”

Although Tuchel has got to know Mount well in the last few weeks, one man who knows him better than most is West Ham United midfielder and England team-mate Declan Rice.

Rice and Mount are best friends off the field after rising through Chelsea’s youth ranks together, as well as the fact that they now play alongside each other for England.

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Speaking about his friendship with the Chelsea ace, Rice, as quoted by the Daily Star, said: “We’ve been best friends since we were eight-years-old so it’s been an unbelievable journey to where we both are right now.

“I can’t have anyone speaking bad about him. He deserves everything that comes his way.

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“He’s a top player and I think he can go on to another level as well. He’s unbelievable, he can go again and keep rising to be one of the world’s best.”

Although it is fair to point out that Rice is Mount’s very best friend and perhaps unsurprisingly would tip him to reach the very top in years to come, he is not the first to have made the claim.

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Last year, Barcelona star Lionel Messi was asked to pick 15 players from around the world that were up and coming talents that will go on to achieve great things in the future. As well as naming the likes of Borussia Dortmund Jadon Sancho and Kylian Mbappe of Paris Saint-Germain, Messi also included Mount on his list.

Messi said: “Having watched him play he has the potential to be one of the best.”

With that prediction having come from arguably the very best player of all-time, it is clear that Mount has the potential to grow into an all-round star.

His all-round game, though still developing, is getting better and better, implying that he can go from strength-to-strength under Tuchel’s stewardship.

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This season, Mount has racked up 38 appearances for the Blues, scoring six goals and claiming six assists. His 12 goal involvements mean his just two goals short of equalling his tally for the whole of last season.

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