Manchester United could soon welcome back Mason Mount, although his place in the squad is uncertain.
Mason Mount will rejoin Manchester United’s roster shortly. It may not register immediately. His last Premier League start came on October 7, and he hasn’t played since November 11 due to a calf issue. A year ago, Erik ten Hag listed him as his main midfield target, and this isn’t exactly the reward he was hoping for.
In the most recent summer transfer window, Mount paid £60 million to join United from Chelsea. Since August, he has been “struggling” with injuries. It raises the question of how much United knew before to his arrival about the severity of his injury problems.
Due to a pubic injury, the England international did not start any of Chelsea’s final eighteen games of the 2022–23 season. In the previous year, he started nine games but only played for ninety minutes once. If he played the entire game before the campaign ended, it would be surprising.
This isn’t due to additional fitness issues, but rather to the fact that he won’t be starting games in the first place. The worrying thing is that, even when he is healthy, it is difficult to determine exactly how he fits into the United team—a problem that has gotten worse while he has been out.
Mount was brought in to act as the midfield bridge, transferring the ball from defense to attack while maintaining his composure. Instead, Kobbie Mainoo has shown himself to be that man.
United struggled for a midfield presence in the five games that Mount and Casemiro played together at the beginning of the season, as the pair was unable to match the Premier League’s physicality.
The fact that adolescent Mainoo has excelled in both his physicality and ball-playing skills, displaying both silk and grit during his senior breakout, does not assist Mount’s cause either.
The former Chelsea midfielder is currently at best United’s backup, trailing both club captain Bruno Fernandes and Mainoo in the more advanced offensive midfield role.
Being without a player like Mount is not necessarily the worst setback, but it does call into question Ten Hag’s ability to recognize talent and the significant financial commitment made to a team member, which prevented them from adding to the roster during the January transfer window.
The fact that United appears to have fully resolved their right-wing dilemma does not help Mount either. There was no clear front-runner to take over the right-flank post, which he had excelled at while at Chelsea, until late December.
With his intensity, pressing prowess, and defensive poise, the 25-year-old appeared to be the perfect big-game player; nevertheless, Ten Hag likely preferred Alejandro Garnacho’s offensive threat in that spot.
Though there aren’t many chances to try that between now and the conclusion of the season, United may yet decide that Mount is deserving of a position switch out wide to aid them against some formidable possession-based opponents.
Mount will be eager to make up lost time as he approaches a return to injury. Sadly for him, others capitalized on it more than he did.