Cole & Souness defend Chelsea star who 'should be first name on the team sheet'

Ashley Cole and Graeme Souness are perplexed by criticism aimed at Mason Mount and both believe he should be a regular starter in the Chelsea team after his impressive display in the 4-1 win over Sheffield United.

Former Blues and Arsenal left-back Cole ‘loves’ Mount’s presence when he’s picked by Frank Lampard, while Souness – the former Liverpool midfielder – thinks he should be ‘the first name on the team sheet in midfield’.

Lampard has added to his squad significantly this summer, with Hakim Ziyech, Timo Werner, Thiago Silva, Ben Chilwell, Edouard Mendy and Kai Havertz all coming through the door, meaning more competition for the likes of Mount.

Cole accepts that Lampard has a dilemma over who should make his strongest starting XI but thinks Mount should be a part of it.

‘Frank has a dilemma but it’s a good dilemma,’ Cole told Sky Sports after the game.

‘[Christian] Pulisic at the back end of last season was on fire and everyone was like, “Wow look what this kid can produce”. He was the star of the team at the time.

‘But now with so many attacking options it will be difficult at times when everyone is fit.

‘I love having Mason in midfield I think he brings energy, the quality and freedom for other players to thrive.’

Souness added: ‘Because he’s homegrown they’re overlooked and taking them for granted. Mason Mount is a fabulous player.

‘I think he’d be the first name on my team sheet in midfield. We talked about Ziyech but the challenge for him is to see if he can do it against the best teams.

‘We know Mason Mount can, we know he’s right up for the cup.’

Cole interjected: ‘A lot of fans are critical of him, Chelsea fans.’

But Souness leapt to his defence, adding: ‘He’s a baby, I’m trying to think what team he wouldn’t get in in the Premier League and that includes all the big guys.

‘I think him and [Phil] Foden are outstanding and I also like the one at Leicester [James] Maddison.’

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