Erik ten Hag must give Manchester United player his first Premier League start in five months

Manager Erik ten Hag of Manchester United in action during a first team training session at Carrington Training Ground on February 15, 2024 in Manchester, England.


If any player was going to speak in the mixed zone after Manchester United's draw with Brentford at the weekend, it was going to be the goalscorer, Mason Mount.


It transpired not even Mount was willing to speak, although he did do an interview with MUTV. "If you look at the game overall it wasn't to our standard," he said. "We know that. When you score at the death you think you can maybe hang on. But maybe we didn't deserve it.


"Brentford make it difficult. It is never easy coming here. They make it tough and get around you. Maybe we didn't get it going from the beginning. We know we can improve and we need to because we need to win games. We will improve, we will work hard. We need to step up."


Mount, who came on from the bench with just minutes of normal time remaining, did brilliantly to score in added time, expertly finding the right corner whilst being pressured.


He sprinted to the corner where the travelling fans were housed and slid on his knees, slapped the United badge on his shirt and was mobbed by his relieved teammates.


Mount thought he'd won it but United conceded moments later, which made his goal redundant, so it was understandable he wanted to get on the bus as quickly as possible.


Although it would have been one of the biggest robberies in Premier League history, Mount securing a late winner would have represented the turning point of his time at United.


The points were shared, but the goal must be the turning point regardless and starting Mount against his former club Chelsea on Thursday seems like a no-brainer.


Mount's time in Manchester since signing from Chelsea for £55million, with a potential £5m in add-ons, hasn't gone to plan, albeit there is still plenty of time to turn it around.


Erik ten Hag has followed Mount's career since his loan spell in the Eredivisie with Vitesse in the 2017/2018 season and, rightly or wrongly, he made the 25-year-old his priority midfield signing last summer, to freshen up the centre of the pitch and provide energy.


Mount's cameo against Liverpool before the break went under the radar due to the extraordinary manner of the victory, but he provided exactly what he was signed for - energy.


His introduction against Brentford almost won United the game and starting him on the bench at Stamford Bridge would disrupt the momentum he's been able to build.


Mount has not started in the Premier League since picking up a calf injury against Luton Town on November 11 and he should make the starting XI for the first time in five months.


Where he starts on the pitch is the contentious point. Mount was signed to play in a deeper midfield role, but the prospect of him starting alongside Kobbie Mainoo and Bruno Fernandes against Chelsea doesn't inspire confidence that United won't be overrun again.


While Casemiro has been disappointing this season and his drop-off has been stark, the midfield is only balanced when he plays and the defensive line is exposed when he doesn't.


Casemiro must start against Chelsea and Mainoo shouldn't lose his place, which means Mount should either play on the right wing or in central attacking midfield.


Mount made his name as a No.10, a creative attacking midfielder and he's most comfortable in that role, so perhaps Fernandes should be relocated and Alejandro Garnacho rested.


Garnacho has run through brick walls this season, but fatigue looks to have crept into his performances in recent weeks and he would benefit from a rest.


Mount playing behind Rasmus Hojlund, with Fernandes on the right, might be the best choice.

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