With Chelsea entering the new season under a transfer ban, next season will be the perfect opportunity for two of the club’s youth players to fight it out to prove themselves to new manager Frank Lampard.
Mason Mount and Ruben Loftus-Cheek are the two players who will be looking to prove their worth to Lampard for one place in the number 10 position. But, with Loftus-Cheek out for close to a year due to a ruptured Achilles, the battle can’t commence yet, however when he is fit, which one of the two will Lampard choose to fill one number 10 slot next season?
Mount scored 11 goals and assisted a further six as he was part of the Derby County team which reached and narrowly lost the Championship play-off final to Aston Villa. At the mere age of 20, that proves a good achievement, especially in a league which some people label as one of the most competitive in European football.
On the other hand, Loftus-Cheek was one of Chelsea’s stand-out players in a successful campaign for the Blues. The England international scored 10 goals in just 14 starts in all competitions, as he enjoyed a stand-out season as a Chelsea youth player. Loftus-Cheek was the first Chelsea youth player to score 10 goals with the first-team since the 1992/1993 season, where Graham Stuart also scored 10.
After similar seasons, it’s hard to separate the individuals on statistics so let’s take a look at their strengths.
Mount is a diminutive creative type of attacking midfielder. Picking out key passes is a particular strength for the England youth international, as he finished in 1st place for the most key passes per game for Derby County last season.
However, Loftus-Cheek provides a whole different dimension in the number 10 role, with dribbling and link-up play a key strength for the 23-year-old. In both the Europa League and Premier League, Loftus-Cheek finished second, only to Eden Hazard, in terms of most dribbles made per game.
With both players providing different types of strengths in the number 10 role, it will be a difficult decision for Lampard to make when Loftus-Cheek returns from injury. However, putting the injury to one side, Mount looks to be the player who suits the Chelsea manager’s passing style of play the most.