Mason Mount is becoming one of Chelsea's leaders – this was another inspiring display

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Chelsea's English midfielder Mason Mount runs with the ball during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Leicester City at Stamford Bridge in London on May 18, 2021. - PETER CZIBORRA/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
Chelsea's English midfielder Mason Mount runs with the ball during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Leicester City at Stamford Bridge in London on May 18, 2021. - PETER CZIBORRA/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Mason Mount on Tuesday became Chelsea’s youngest Player of the Year since John Terry and, just as the club’s captain, leader, legend, had the ability to drag his team over the line, the midfielder led by example on one of the most important nights of the season.

Remember, it was Mount who scored a delicious free-kick to help Chelsea qualify for the Champions League by beating Wolverhampton Wanderers last season and, against Leicester City, he was once again a man on a mission.

This victory has not quite clinched a top-four place, but Mount more than did his bit to help put the Chelsea on the brink of playing in Europe’s top competition again next term.

The 22-year-old has been the beating heart of this Chelsea team under both Frank Lampard and latest head coach Thomas Tuchel, who dropped him for his first game in charge.

But Mount quickly convinced Tuchel he is undroppable and, given his energy and desire, you would have never have guessed that this was his 35th Premier League appearance of the season - the most of any Chelsea player.

Terry was 21-years-old when he first won the Chelsea Player of the Year award and his vocal leadership style was different to Mount’s, but the latest homegrown hero has a similar ability to inspire.

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The good news for Mount is that with fans back in stadiums the online Twitter trolls should have been silenced for good and those who might continue to attempt to criticise him are being drowned out.

Mount is simply loved by the match-going supporters and so he should be. In what was a must-win game against the Foxes, it was the former Derby County loanee who found Timo Werner, who scored the first of his two first-half disallowed goals.

He had a turn and shot of his own tipped over the crossbar by Kasper Schmiechel, who had also denied him with a wonder save in the FA Cup final, and he fired another effort over the crossbar.

Mount is now in a small band of players Chelsea simply cannot contemplate playing the Champions League final against Manchester City without.

Another one of those, N’Golo Kante was forced off with an injury and how Tuchel would love to be able to rest Mount for the final Premier League game of the season at Aston Villa on Sunday. Unfortunately for Chelsea, the German does not have that luxury.

The hush that fell over Stamford Bridge, together with looks of concern on the faces of his team-mates and Tuchel, when Mount required treatment in the second half, after clashing knees with Ayoze Perez, told its own story.

 Youri Tielemans of Leicester City and Ayoze Perez of Leicester City in action with Mason Mount of Chelsea during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Leicester City - Getty Images
Youri Tielemans of Leicester City and Ayoze Perez of Leicester City in action with Mason Mount of Chelsea during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Leicester City - Getty Images

Eden Hazard won Chelsea’s Player of the Year award four times and there were shades of the Belgian in the way Mount had wriggled his way free into the Leicester penalty area just before half-time but Christian Pulisic could not convert his low cross.

This was not just a performance of fancy footwork and it has been noticeable this season that Mount has embraced some of football’s dark arts on occasion, when his team needs it. On Tuesday night, it was Youri Tielemans who got shoved to the ground, when a Leicester attack needed to be stopped.

If Mount’s career path and performances continue on the trajectory they have so far taken, then there is every chance he could equal Hazard’s achievement of being named Chelsea’s best player on four occasions.

There is also every possibility that sooner or later Mount will be named Chelsea’s captain on a permanent basis, having already worn the armband for Lampard’s final game in charge against Luton Town in the FA Cup.

But, for now, Mount won’t be thinking about the captaincy or how many Player of the Year awards he can win. He will just be focussed on clinching a top-four place and then trying to secure his first winners’ medal in the Champions League final.

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