Mount has already made himself an important part of Southgate’s squad this season with two caps, and yesterday striker Tammy Abraham and defender Tomori became the latest Stamford Bridge graduates to get the call up for England, who face the Czech Republic and Bulgaria next week in key back to back Euro 2020 qualifiers.
Chelsea finished with five academy graduates on the pitch on Wednesday night in Lille, as Frank Lampard’s young team got their Champions League campaign under way with a crucial 2-1 win.
Abraham, on his 22nd birthday, scored the first goal and Willian a late winner as Chelsea registered the victory they needed after losing their opening game against Valencia two weeks ago.
Tomori had another strong game as Lampard started him at the centre of his defence for the 5th time in six outings. Reece James, 19, made his Champions League debut at right wing back, Mount is now a first choice, and the fit-again Callum Hudson-Odoi came on as a substitute.
Lampard knows Tomori well from having the powerful defender on loan at Derby last season, and the Chelsea manager is proving true to his word in giving youth its chance this season. As, it seems, is Southgate.
Mount said: “It’s not just the past week. It’s the last year as well, how well Fikayo has done.
“I’m very close to Fik. I knew he could definitely get up there and into the England team. He is definitely good enough.
“You can see by his performances. He’s strong, he’s quick, he’s confident on the ball.”
Tomori, 21, and Abraham have both been offered new long term deals by Chelsea. If both play in either of the upcoming games, it will mean the end of Nigeria’s attempts to recruit them, because the next four fixtures are all competitive. Abraham has played twice but in friendlies, while Tomori played international youth football for Canada. Both though also qualify for Nigeria.
With Callum Hudson-Odoi also fit again and in Southgate’s plans, the spine of Southgate’s reshaped England could in the near future be virtually Chelsea-based.
Mount said: “It’s a very special time. On Wednesday night, five academy boys played, and there are plenty more coming through as well.
“You never know with England. There’s a lot of young exciting players coming through at the moment and we’re just working hard and getting our head down.
“You have to earn the chance to play and show the manager you’re ready. Just because you’re a young player it doesn’t get given to you.”
Chelsea in Group H now face tough away and then home games against leaders Ajax, who have convincingly won both their opening fixtures. But Lampard’s men have given themselves a chance.
Mount said: “It was unbelievable. You look around and you see Reece making his debut, you see Tammy, you see Fikayo, all these young players around you. It takes the nerves away, knowing there are all these young players who aren’t that experienced as well. You kind of get together.”
As for Abraham, now second in the Premier League scoring charts with seven strikes, and putting the pressure on England regular Marcus Rashford, Mount said: “Tammy’s on fire.
“Any time the ball goes into the box you’re expecting him to get on the end of it. It’s brilliant to have him scoring as many as he is.
“The thing for him is to focus on continuing the performances. He’s a striker, so as many goals as he can score, that’s the best thing for him.”
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