Mason Mount is at the center of a row between England and Chelsea, with Graham Potter admitting he was surprised to see the midfielder Gareth Southgate’s squad.
Both England and Chelsea are keen to avoid a spat over the matter after working closely on the injury-related omission of Raheem Sterling. However, clarity is being sought on how Mount was selected by England, only for Blues head coach Potter to rule him out with less than 24 hours later.
Chelsea pulled Mount from England’s squad for EURO qualifiers against Italy and Ukraine the day after the announcement, with Potter confirming the club will look into the matter.
Potter insists Mount Southgate was never available for selection, with Chelsea privately insisting England were made aware of Mount’s ongoing pelvic injury before naming the squad.
It is understood Southgate picked Mount in good faith, believing he would have at least a chance of being available and England have a policy of never picking players they know are injured.
Adding to the confusion is the fact that another Chelsea player, Sterling, was left out of the England squad on the club’s advice, with both sides quick to stress that his omission was fitness-related.
Mount had hoped to join the England squad but Chelsea doctors want to give him more time to fully recover from a pelvic injury that worries him and the 24-year-old has also been ruled out of the Premier League game against Everton on Saturday night.
Chelsea’s medical staff have undergone major changes since being acquired by Todd Boehly-Clearlake Capital, with the club also restructuring its sporting and recruitment structure.
Asked if Mount has suffered a setback in his recovery since the England squad was announced, Potter said: “I don’t know. As far as I know, he was never available.”
When Potter was then asked if that was why he was surprised to see Mount named for the England team, he replied, “Yes.”
Potter confirmed Chelsea will seek clarification on the matter, adding: “Probably as a club we will. I don’t have all the contacts with all the doctors, so it’s not like I’m able to do that [speed] on everything here. But as far as I knew, he wouldn’t be available for us at the weekend. It took him a bit of time for his injury to settle down, which pretty much left him out of England.
“Whether that means they needed some time to double-check that, I don’t know. But I think there’s nothing unusual there at all, rather these things can be named sometimes, but there are still a few days when things can be changed. But as far as I know, he wasn’t available for the weekend from my pick perspective.”
England manager Southgate must now decide whether or not to call up a replacement for Mount, with James Ward-Prowse and Morgan Gibbs-White among those who could be considered.
Chelsea are not taking any chances on their players’ fitness with big games coming up after the international break, including a quarter-final match of the Champions League against defending champions Real Madrid.
Potter attended a Chelsea fan event on Thursday night where he said: “We take the draw and then we try to win the f —— Champions League.”
Asked if he stood by the comment after Chelsea Madrid drew in the last eight and then Manchester City or Bayern Munich, Potter said: “I said we’d try beep win the champions league. This also applies to each of the other seven clubs. They will also say that they could lose in the quarter-finals because that’s the nature of the Champions League. We will focus on Real Madrid when we get there. It’s Everton at the moment.
“The feeling is excitement but like I said I’d rather talk about Everton because that’s the next game. The other stuff is far away.”
Potter confirmed N’Golo Kanté could return to Chelsea’s squad for the first time since August against Everton.
Source : sports.yahoo.com