Ray Parlour jumped to Mason Mount’s defence following a suggestion he was not entirely safe from facing the chop despite for Chelsea or England.
Speaking on talkSPORT, Parlour argued against Gabby Agbonlahor’s point that players should be selected on form, rather than the manager’s preferences, referencing Mount’s current predicament.
At the beginning of the £80,000-a-week (Spotrac) midfielder’s career, he was often unfairly stamped with a ‘teacher’s pet’ mark.
Mainly because of Frank Lampard’s insistence in playing him for Chelsea, ahead of more experienced campaigners.
Then Gareth Southgate followed suit by regularly starting the 22-year-old in an England shirt.
But once Thomas Tuchel also entrusted Mount with domestic responsibilities, the naysayers began to crawl back into their cave.
Mount’s tricky moment
Of course, the Englishman earned his position, through hard work and the talent to match.
However, he is currently enduring a sticky patch that all footballers experience in their lifetime.
Mount had a difficult evening for England against Hungary yesterday, unable to swing the result in his nation’s favour as the tie ended 1-1.
“It was a game that (Jordan) Henderson should’ve been in there maybe instead of Mount,” professed Agbonlahor.
“I would’ve done that at halftime, that would’ve been my first change at halftime. Maybe Mount off and Henderson on.”
“But Mount’s done nothing wrong,” jumped in Parlour.
“I think Gareth really likes Mount. Sometimes, as a manager, you’ve got to make those big decisions.
“If you like a player, you’ve got to keep playing them.
Agbonlahor retaliated, saying: “Don’t you think that people like Mount and (Harry) Kane if they’re not performing, they shouldn’t be undroppable?”
Form over fame?
The former Aston Villa striker offers a good point.
Those underachieving often deserve to make way for others arguably overachieving.
Yet, as a counterargument, sometimes to get out of a rut, an individual needs to remain in the fold.
People can react negatively if they are moved aside and not restored for a period of time.
Difficult decisions all coaches inevitably have to induce.
Thomas Tuchel is facing such an obstacle at the moment.
Romelu Lukaku hasn’t scored for Chelsea in the last five games.
Does he drop the Belgian in place of say, Timo Werner, who has five goals in his last five fixtures for club and country?
Almost certainly not, but it’s a question that needs asking the longer Lukaku’s goalless run goes on.