In Focus: Chelsea's Lions hoping to provide Thomas with the magic Tuch

Cian Cheesbrough
LiveScore
Mason Mount will be a key man for Chelsea once again this season
Mason Mount will be a key man for Chelsea once again this season

Chelsea trio Mason Mount, Reece James and Ben Chilwell are ready to roar back into action after helping England get within touching distance of glory at Euro 2020. 

Self-isolation period aside, midfielder Mount played a key role as Gareth Southgate's Three Lions reached the final before suffering penalty shootout heartache against Italy. 

James was used sparingly by Southgate and Chilwell failed to make an appearance at the tournament.

But all three are sure to be at the forefront of Thomas Tuchel’s plans for the Blues this term after impressing the German during the 2020-21 campaign, which culminated in the Londoners winning the Champions League and securing fourth place in the Premier League.

Having broken through under former Chelsea boss Frank Lamapard, Mount has proven indispensable for club and country, while James and Chilwell excelled during the business end of 2020-21 after making the full-back positions their own.

In contrast, team-mate Tammy Abraham appears set for the exit after falling out of favour under Tuchel, Callum Hudson-Odoi has a battle on his hands to become a regular and a number of their fellow Englishmen face uncertain futures at Stamford Bridge. 

Read on as we turn the spotlight on the homegrown talents bidding to prove their worth.

Mason Mount

A favourite under Lampard, it did not take Mount long to convince Tuchel that he could be trusted to deliver the goods. 

With a host of expensive signings arriving last summer, the 22-year-old's place in the team looked to be under threat.

But he was one of the few consistent performers before club legend Lamps was sacked and his impressive form continued when Tuchel put his faith in him. 

Speaking to Chelsea's official website last season, the German was quick to sing Mount's praises.

He said: "It's outstanding and it makes him special, to be capable of playing so consistently and producing performances at this level so consistently.

"It's very special because he's very young and he never seems to be distracted too much from praise and critics."

Mount's assist for Kai Havertz to net the winner against Manchester City in the Champions League final was a memorable highlight in a season full of big moments for the lad from Portsmouth. 

Not surprisingly, Mount will be a nailed-on starter this season. 

Reece James

Chelsea star Reece James will hope to keep his starting spot this season
Chelsea star Reece James will hope to keep his starting spot this season

Though James, 21, also grabbed the opportunity handed to him by Lampard in Chelsea's first team, he still faces a battle to hold down the right wing-back slot in Tuchel’s favoured 3-4-2-1 formation.

When Tuchel first arrived, Hudson-Odoi was handed a surprise run there but James eventually forced his way back into a position that allows him to thrive going forward as well as defensively.

An eye-catching performance in the 1-0 Champions League win over City earned him plenty of plaudits. 

Following the victory in Portugal, former Manchester United and England star Rio Ferdinand said: "If you’re going to play at the top level you have to do that. Today he became a man. Today he answered all those questions."

Along with the threat of Hudson-Odoi, James may also have to compete with Christian Pulisic for a regular berth after the American star was deployed at right wing-back in pre-season. 

Ben Chilwell

Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell had to train in isolation after coming in close contact with Billy Gilmour at Euro 2020
Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell had to train in isolation after coming in close contact with Billy Gilmour at Euro 2020

Chilwell’s European Championship experience did not quite go as he had hoped, largely due to a coronavirus scare and the form of fellow left-back Luke Shaw.

But the 24-year-old former Leicester man will likely pick up where he left off with Chelsea after impressing on the left in Tuchel’s system following the German's appointment.

Marcos Alonso looked to be the preferred man when the former Paris Saint-Germain boss first arrived, only for Chilwell to eventually show everyone why Chelsea paid £50million for him in August 2020. 

Alonso's return from the wilderness could have affected Chilwell in a negative way but the England man insisted it made him more determined to prove himself.

Speaking last term, he said: "When the manager came in, it was a clean slate for everyone.

"I used it as an opportunity to work harder, to ask him questions in training where I can improve and get the opportunity, then prove to him I should be playing more regularly."

After an extended break following England's Euro 2020 campaign, there is little doubt Chilwell will be keen to be marauding down the left flank again as soon as possible. 

Tammy Abraham

Tammy Abraham is set to leave Chelsea after falling down the pecking order under Thomas Tuchel
Tammy Abraham is set to leave Chelsea after falling down the pecking order under Thomas Tuchel

One Chelsea academy graduate who appears to be on his way out is Abraham.

The 23-year-old striker featured just a handful of times in the Premier League under Tuchel and will be further down the pecking order when Romelu Lukaku completes his return from Inter Milan. 

Not that Abraham will be short of suitors after netting 12 goals in all competitions in 2020-21, despite his limited opportunities.

Arsenal, West Ham and Aston Villa, where he enjoyed a loan spell in 2018-19, have all been linked but it appears Roma have won the battle for his signature. 

Whatever the future holds for Abraham, it seems unlikely he will be a Chelsea player for much longer. 

Callum Hudson-Odoi

Callum Hudson-Odoi has yet to win a regular place in Thomas Tuchel's side
Callum Hudson-Odoi has yet to win a regular place in Thomas Tuchel's side

Still only 20, Hudson-Odoi has been in and around the Chelsea squad for some time. 

The winger has long been tipped for a bright future but has not quite kicked on since a move to Bayern Munich failed to materialise. 

Predominantly a wideman who loves taking on full-backs, Hudson Odoi’s best way into Chelsea’s team this term appears to be that right wing-back slot. 

When Tuchel hands him a start, he needs to grab it with both hands in a season that will likely decide whether his long-term future remains with the Blues or elsewhere.

Returning loanees

After a positive start to his loan spell at Aston Villa, injuries prevented midfielder Ross Barkley, 27, from convincing Tuchel he warrants a place in his squad and another temporary switch could be on the cards.

Similar could be said for Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who impressed in parts for relegated Fulham last term. 

Injury problems have stunted the 25-year-old’s development and regular first-team football appears a long way off under Tuchel. 

Young Englishman Trevoh Chalobah, 22, featured in pre-season but another loan appears on the cards for the brother of former Chelsea midfielder Nathaniel, who moved to Watford in search of regular action back in July 2017.

As for Danny Drinkwater, who starred for Leicester in their title-winning campaign before joining the Blues, the future looks less than rosy. 

Drinkwater, 31, has become a regular loanee but has failed to impress during his time away from West London. 

Chelsea fans have largely forgotten about him and is one Englishman with very little chance of winning over Tuchel. 

Tags

ChelseaMason MountReece JamesBen ChilwellPremier LeagueUEFA Super Cup
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