Lampard questions why Man Utd ‘paid that amount of money’ for ‘my lad’ as Ten Hag style unsuitable

Will Ford
Lampard Mount Man Utd
Frank Lampard isn't sure Mason Mount fits at Manchester United.

Frank Lampard isn’t sure why Manchester United paid £55m for Mason Mount when Erik ten Hag had no clear “plan” for the England international, who doesn’t suit their style of football.

Mount has started just four Premier League games for his new club this season, due mainly to injury, and is yet to score for the Red Devils.

The 25-year-old struggled to make an impact when he did play and Lampard believes the lack of a defined role for Mount, along with having to vie with captain Bruno Fernandes for the No.10 could continue to be a problem for him.

Asked about Mount’s struggles at Old Trafford on Sky Bet’s Stick to Football podcast, Lampard said: “A bit of injuries as well, to be fair to him, and a team that’s struggling and has a big negativity [around it] in certain ways.

“From my point of view, because I took him to Derby, he changed everything there for me really. Him and [Fikayo] Tomori and [Harry] Wilson, but Mason particularly, his level in training was a high, high level.

“Pressing brilliant, off-the-ball stuff brilliant, if you want to give him information he takes it like that [clicks fingers]. Will jump [forward to press], will recover, will jump, will recover. A great lad, good technically, very good technically.

“So I think he’s really high level in loads of those areas and a proper lad, as I say, you could give him anything. I think he’s probably suffered from a change into a bad [situation].”

He continued: “He’s very driven. If you drop him, his face goes straight away – he’s one of those. Not in a bad way, but he’s like, ‘I want to show you’. He will absolutely want to show you [he deserves to play], he’s very determined like that.

“I’m not just saying that because he’s my lad a bit and I’ve had a relationship on the pitch in terms of managing him, but I do think he’ll come good because of that and because of his talent.

“And once the team gets more structure, because I do think it’s important for a structure of a team to say you’re an aggressive 8 or you’re in a 10. And the only worry I had when he went to Man United was, where do Bruno Fernandes and him fit?

“You’ve also got Casemiro, and I know it’s starting to develop and change away from that already as an idea, but you kind of go: where do you fit?

“And I think when you are – and this is not to dig Mason or Man United out for bringing him in – but I think when you get a player of that level for that amount of money, you’ve got to go: this is the plan. That’s what I’d want to hear, and my question would be: where does he fit?”

When Jamie Carragher suggested he effectively has to play as a central midfielder, Lampard continued: “Which he’s not. I would say he’s probably slightly more advanced than me in general play, I liked to arrive from deeper, drop down and play a bit more and then arrive from deeper.

“I think he’s higher. In Tuchel’s team that won the Champions League he was a 10, highest sort of 10 on the side, two 10s and then a 9, and I think he could do that better than I could. I liked to come from deeper.

“He can play as a single 10 as well, but, again, you’re going into where the captain of the football club, Bruno Fernandes, is playing – who hardly gets injured, as far as I see it. So I think that will be a difficult one that’s a conundrum to solve as a team to get him into the team in his best position.”

On whether he is a fit for United’s style of play under Ten Hag, Lampard added: “I do think that Manchester United do a lot of their best work on the counter-attack, turning teams round, with Marcus Rashford going bang, bang, bang.

“Maybe Mace has got to get to grips with what that looks like for him – all that high pressing stuff is great if you’re in a high-pressing team, but they’re not a massively high-pressing team.

“All this stuff in tight areas up the pitch – which I think he’s good at and can get better at and can be more effective in the box and score more goals – I don’t think they stay there loads.

“Their best stuff, when I’ve coached against United, is we’ll probably have a lot of the ball but be careful of [counter attacks] and I’m not sure Mace is one that is going to be joining Marcus, it’s not easy for anybody – it’s a different style of play.”

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