English England

Gareth Southgate’s faith in Chelsea star pays off after goal in Nations League win vs Belgium

England boss Gareth Southgate insists Mason Mount is a ‘very underappreciated’ player as the Chelsea midfielder scored the winning goal in The Three Lions’ 2-1 win over top-rated Belgium in the Nations League on Sunday.

Southgate’s decision to play Mason Mount ahead of the in-form Jack Grealish, who put in a man-of-the-match display in Thursday’s 3-0 win against Wales, was questioned by some England supporters but his faith in Mount evidently paid off when the 21-year-old’s 64th-minute deflected shot ensured England leap-frogged Belgium in their Nations League group.

Southgate told talkSPORT:

“He’s a top player. He can receive [the ball] under pressure.

“He’s intelligent with his movement. He’s, of course, still learning. To find space in the first-half was difficult.

“But in a tactical game where it’s just as important defensively what the forwards do, to have a player like him who can do both sides… the way that Marcus Rashford did, the way Dominic Calvert-Lewin did.

“I read a lot of things about Mason and I think he’s a very underappreciated player – but not by us.”

After falling behind thanks to a Romelu Lukaku penalty in the 16th minute after he was fouled by Eric Dier, Southgate’s side went level through a spot-kick of their own as Jordan Henderson was pulled down by Thomas Meunier, which saw Marcus Rashford convert from 12 yards.

And Mount lost no time in sealing an impressive three points for The Three Lions with his second goal in nine appearances for England.