Mason Mount has revealed he was impacted by Declan Rice’s Chelsea departure aged 14 amid rumours the West Ham midfielder could return to the club.
Chelsea star Mount is a close friend of Rice, with the duo playing together in the academy at Stamford Bridge.
However, while Rice was released and ending up establishing himself at London rivals West Ham, Mount remains at Chelsea and enjoyed a breakout season in 2019-20.
The Blues are making moves in the transfer market ahead of the new season – already bringing in Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner – and Rice, alongside Kai Havertz, is now said to be on Frank Lampard’s wishlist.
Mount says he always backed Rice for a successful career, telling Chelsea’s official website: “When I was 14, I was fortunate to be offered something and I was about to sign a new contract.
“But a few lads did leave. When Dec left, it did affect me a lot at the time.
Learning from you brother https://t.co/m31Hw9QFla
— Mason Mount (@masonmount_10) July 19, 2020
“I knew as one of my closest friends that that wouldn’t be the end of him and he would work as hard as he could to get where he is.”
Even Mount may have struggled to break into the Chelsea team under previous coaches, with the club renowned for failing to capitalise on the huge success of their youth teams.
But Mount was given his chance alongside the likes of Reece James, Fikayo Tomori and Tammy Abraham.
The England international rewarded Lampard’s faith with eight goals in 53 appearances in all competitions.
“My dad always had questions [about staying at Chelsea] because there weren’t all that many young players coming through into the first team,” Mount said.
“JT [John Terry] was the only one who really came through and had an unbelievable career.
“I always believed that I would make it to the first team, though, through hard work and determination, and I didn’t let anybody get in the way of my focus, even my dad when he had questions.”
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