'He moves the ball quickly': Paul Merson urges World Cup side to play 23-year-old Chelsea star in the knockouts

Paul Merson has said he would pick Chelsea’s Mason Mount to start in the England side against Senegal at the World Cup this weekend.

England and Senegal lock horns on Sunday evening in the last-16 of the World Cup, with the winner playing France or Poland in the quarter-finals.

Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate definitely has some big decisions to make with his starting line-up to face the African champions.

Mount, who started the opening two games of the group stages, was an unused substitute in the most recent win over Wales.

Will the 23-year-old Chelsea player return to the XI on Sunday, though?

The attacking midfielder has look settled in the centre of the park alongside Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham, but Liverpool’s captain Jordan Henderson did a good job replacing him against Wales.

Photo by Eddie Keogh – The FA/The FA via Getty Images

Mason Mount against Senegal

Sky Sports pundit Merson is fairly convinced that Southgate should recall Mount to the England line-up for the World Cup showdown with Senegal.

“I wouldn’t go with Jude Bellingham, Declan Rice and Jordan Henderson as the midfield three [against Senegal], it’s too one-dimensional and you’re asking for Harry Kane to drop deeper and deeper,” Merson wrote for Sky Sports.

“If you’re going to give one of the midfield three the freedom to roam forward, then Mason Mount should be starting there. I’d have Mount in midfield over Henderson because he moves the ball quickly, sees a pass and is on the half-turn.

“If you play Mount, I think it would keep Kane further up the pitch and would allow you to push Bellingham forward, leaving Rice in front of the back four, which is enough, you don’t need two defensive midfielders in front of the back four.”

Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Joe Cole, along with Merson, has said Mount should return to the England team tomorrow.

Southgate has favoured Chelsea’s attacking midfielder a lot in recent years, so it won’t be a surprise if he’s on the pitch.

His relentless work-rate and quality in-between the lines could prove invaluable against Senegal.

The flip side is that there’s a lot of in-form attackers in the England squad that supporters are desperate to see crammed into the XI.

Keep up to date with all the latest Chelsea news and opinion by following The Chelsea Chronicle’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Dom is a Chelsea supporter who has worked in online publishing for more than six years. Graduated from Staffordshire University in 2016, he now writes exclusively for The Chelsea Chronicle covering news, analysis and match coverage. He enjoys the dream position of writing about his boyhood club, which seems to be involved in more drama every single day than an episode of The Bill. Aside from his love for Chelsea, he supports and follows the England cricket team. He also fancies himself as the Sunday League version of Michael Essien.