Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2020 Euros, played in 2021, this is the first regular preseason for many European clubs in years. When it comes to Chelsea, anything normal would be a welcome change after all they’ve gone through. From the highs of winning the Club World Cup, following Champions League glory, to setbacks like losing the EFL and FA Cup finals on penalties to Liverpool, there have been so many ups and downs. With the weight of a want-away striker Romelu Lukaku off of their shoulders, and with the club’s transition of ownership from Roman Abramovich to American Todd Boehly, this preseason feels like a breath of fresh air for the Blues. It’s a chance to unwind a bit before really focusing in.
As they begin their tour of the United States with a friendly versus Club America in Los Angeles Saturday, “In Soccer We Trust” host Heath Pearce sat down with star midfielder Mason Mount to discuss many topics, including his relationship with American Christian Pulisic. The two first met at 11 years of age when Pulisic was invited to train at Chelsea’s academy, but their relationship has grown since the USA international joined Chelsea in 2018 from Borussia Dortmund. The friends and teammates will be turned into competitors when the World Cup rolls around in November with England and the United States being drawn into Group B, but for now, they get to enjoy America together, hopefully having some time to golf together on the side.
“He’s home, he’s back home and this is where he’s from and he knows everybody. We always push him to the front of the queue when we’re going anywhere saying this is yours and you’re home, sir. You speak to everybody and he’s obviously Captain America, so he’s loving it. And we all are as a group, just being here and being able to train and the suns out. We’re working hard. What more could you want?” Mount said.
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Mount went on to say how the two have grown in the past three years together both maturing and gaining confidence together. Rarely a starter, Pulisic was only able to contribute eight goals and five assists, operating as a rotational winger while also getting some time at center forward due to struggles that the team had scoring. Fully fit heading into this season, he’ll need his confidence to win a regular spot and ensure that he trusts his skill to score even if only given five minutes off of the bench.
Looking forward to the World Cup, while Mount and Pulisic will be competitors, it will all be friendly outside of some trash talk on the golf course. Mount also looks forward to swapping jerseys with Pulisic after the match between the United States and England on November 25th, the day after Thanksgiving. He knows what the Pulisic at Chelsea can do well, but he hopes that it doesn’t translate over to that game.
“I remember when he first got on that coach when, I think, we were in Japan or Asia,” Mount said of Pulisic’s first days at the club. “He was quite quiet, he was on his own at the time. As you get to know somebody, they come out of their shell. That is definitely what I’ve seen over the last couple years.
“You can see the confidence within him, and it’s brilliant to see. Hopefully when we play each other in the World Cup, he doesn’t have the confidence as much.”
For Mount personally, his only true goals this season are about how many goals and assists he can register as accomplishing those will help the team reach their goals. Chelsea certainly wants to win every competition that they can, and while the Premier League will be tough with Manchester City and Liverpool leading the way, Chelsea’s summer business will get him closer to where they want to be. If Mount and Pulisic can continue to bring the best out of each other on and off the pitch, it will certainly lead to good things for the Blues this season. For now, they are enjoying some fun in the sun before the grind starts in under a month.