Gary Neville has claimed that reported Liverpool target Mason Mount is a player loved by coaches, rather than supporters.
Mount has been publicly held up as one of Liverpool’s primary transfer targets for a number of months now. But with strong links to Manchester United now emerging, it looks like he could be heading to Old Trafford instead.
Either way, speaking to Sky Sports via Football Daily last night, Neville claimed that he wasn’t surprised to see top managers like Jurgen Klopp and Erik ten Hag after Mount. However, he did suggest that supporters may not be as happy with the links.
“Mason Mount is a coaches player, I think that’s the best way to describe him,” said the pundit. “There’ve been many I’ve seen in my life time in football where they probably get more respect by the coaching staff for what they do than they do maybe by the fans that are watching them. Because their output in goals, or assists, or tackles or other things that are really noticeable maybe aren’t as much as people would like.
“But what they do is glue teams together. They fill in gaps, they know when to trigger presses and win the ball back and counter attack. So, I’m not surprised that Mason Mount is a target for many managers. I don’t think he would be a priority here [at Man United], but he [Erik ten Hag] does want midfield players.”
Mount not afraid to do the dirty work
This is a pretty nailed-on assessment from Neville. The reaction often seen from Chelsea fans towards Mount paints the exact picture the pundit describes.
Although he has historically chipped in with a decent amount of goals and assists, it isn’t his main job in the team. A lot of what he does is without the ball to get the team further up the pitch.
In that respect, it really is no surprise to see him so heavily linked with Liverpool. Over the Klopp years, the Reds’ midfield has always been characterised by these types of players.
The likes of Gini Wijnaldum in particular were often unsung and sometimes decried by impatient fans who wanted more glitzy output.
But as Liverpool have seen since Wijnaldum left, he hasn’t an easy man to replace. Few can match his ball retention, pressing, tackling and work rate. It’s a rare skillset. Mount can do it in spades, though.
There may be bigger, more glamourous names out there, but the 24-year-old would be a job for Liverpool. No doubt about that. As a result, it’s a shame to see that the Reds are looking likely to miss out on him. All is not lost just yet, though. Jurgen may still get his Wijnaldum replacement. The supporter’s might not love it, but the boss surely would.