Club legend and former skipper John Terry has tipped Mason Mount to be Chelsea’s next captain, should current incumbent Cesar Azpilicueta move on this summer.
The Lowdown: Azpi Uncertainty
The future of the Blues captaincy could well become an issue ahead of next season, with the Spaniard potentially set to relinquish the armband in order to secure a move to La Liga giants Barcelona this summer.
After a decade of service at Stamford Bridge, the 32-year-old has been heavily linked with making that high profile switch to Catalonia, with that speculation persisting despite the recent reports that his current contract has been extended by a further 12 months – until June 2023.
The former Marseille man had been named club captain by former boss Frank Lampard following Gary Cahill’s departure ahead of the 2019/20 campaign, going on to lift the Champions League, the UEFA Super Cup and the Club World Cup during Thomas Tuchel’s tenure.
The Latest: Terry Tips Mount
With Azpilicueta potentially nearing a switch to the Nou Camp – where he could reportedly be joined by both Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen – attention has turned as to who could well replace him as the club’s leading man.
Speaking to Stadium Astro, iconic captain Terry – who is currently involved in a fan-led consortium hoping to secure a minor stake in the club – suggested that academy product Mount could be the next figure to take on the responsibility.
“I think the progression from that would probably lead itself to Mason for me.
“I think Mason has got the ability to go on and I think he’s capable of grabbing the game by the scruff of the neck if we need to.
“The Chelsea fans relate to him. He is Chelsea through and through. His family are as well. I would personally love to see Mason take it.”
The Verdict: Too Soon?
While the former Aston Villa assistant was himself handed the captaincy relatively early in his senior career in west London – taking over from Marcel Desailly following Jose Mourinho’s appointment in 2004 – it would seem a big call for current boss Tuchel to thrust the armband onto 23-year-old Mount, particularly with more senior figures in the current squad.
Euro 2020 winner Jorginho has taken on the armband on occasion, as to has veteran defender Thiago Silva, with handing the captaincy to their much younger teammate seemingly an almighty snub for those two vastly experienced figures.
The one-time Derby County loanee was named captain last year in the FA Cup fourth-round win over Luton Town and is one of few seemingly nailed on starters among the current side – having already made 41 appearances so far this season – although being named Azpilicueta’s successor at such a young age could well prove to be a burden rather than a blessing.
Former Liverpool man Steven Gerrard has previously revealed his “shock” at being named Reds skipper at the age of just 23, with the current Villa boss admitting that “I still thought I was a bit young at the time, still learning, still developing”.
While the Englishman, of course, went on to lead the Anfield outfit to European glory and cement his status as one of the club’s greatest-ever figures, the fact that even he had doubts about being handed the captaincy so young should serve as a warning to both the £67.5m-rated academy graduate and his manager.
Blues supporters will likely love to see one of their own take on the armband and he may well be a suitable candidate in the future, although it would perhaps be wisest to let one of the more senior members of the current first-team squad take on such a vital leadership role in the meantime.