This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
To solve an issue on the left-wing, Gareth Southgate should look to play Mason Mount.
It was no surprise to see England beat Bulgaria comfortably at the weekend. After all, England lie 54 places ahead of their opponents in the FIFA World Rankings, and the east European outfit can only dream of possessing the talent at Southgate’s disposal.
Harry Kane was the clear Man of the Match, scoring a hat-trick and providing an assist for the other goal, which was scored by Raheem Sterling. The Manchester City winger was also impressive on the right-wing.
Opposite him, though, Marcus Rashford was not able to have the same influence on proceedings. The Manchester United man has previously stated he wants to play up front, clearly showing he does not enjoy being played out of position.
But other than the 21-year-old, there are few realistic options for the role – which is why one Chelsea youngster should be given the opportunity to make it his own.
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On the other side, several players can feature on the left, but none of them have been able to make their mark. While Jadon Sancho is in the squad, the Borussia Dortmund man has continually been used on the right instead of the left, while the problems with Rashford are clear. Callum Hudson-Odoi has perhaps done the best, but he is currently unavailable due to injury.
Mount, therefore, has become a realistic alternative. One of his best displays for Chelsea this term was against Norwich City at Carrow Road, where his goal helped the Blues to a 3-2 win, and that came on the left flank. Such is his technical ability, he can adapt to different roles, just like he did against the Canaries.
In the 11 games playing on the left that have been recorded by Transfermarkt, he has produced three goals and two assists, which have come at a better rate than in his recorded central midfield appearances. It is also perhaps the best position for him to take up for England if he wishes to feature regularly, as there is currently a surplus of central midfielders in and around the set-up.
Against Kosovo, it would make sense for him to feature from that side. Despite their opponents’ recent form, it should be another game in which England triumph. That provides the environment to try something a little different and Southgate’s experiment should be a change in role for the Chelsea midfielder.