How Mount’s First Appearance Played Out
Manchester United fans were treated to a first glimpse of Mason Mount in action for the Reds during our opening pre-season friendly against Leeds.
Newera Bews gathered that the midfielder played the first 45 minutes of our eventual 2-0 win – with goals coming in the second half via youngsters Noam Emeran and Joe Hugill – before being replaced at half-time as Erik ten Hag changed his entire XI.
according to sports pundits, Mount’s performance was lively and certainly pleased those lucky enough to have a ticket to watch first-hand at the Ullevaal Stadion in Oslo.
The anticipation has been building towards the first sighting of the England international representing the Reds ever since the news of his transfer from Chelsea was announced last week, and while the wait for his competitive debut will go on for at least another month, we now have more of an insight into what our new no.7 may have to offer Ten Hag’s side.
Mount was warmly greeted in Norway when he came out onto the pitch for Wednesday’s warm-up.
The midfielder took in the applause – showing the appreciation back to his new followers – and looked sharp during the passing and shooting drills that ensued in our match preparations, with a pleasant top-corner finish during the latter even drawing a clap from Nathan Bishop in goal.
Speaking before the game about his no.7, Erik explained that it is a “big advantage” to have him in early for pre-season, and Mason wasted next to no time in getting involved.
The midfielder took a free-kick in a dangerous area, following an early foul on Amad, and although the ball was cleared away from the intended target of Raphael Varane, it was an early sign that the 24-year-old would be central to proceedings on the afternoon.
Minutes later, a quick pass out to the left channel to find Omari Forson was part of a sweeping move that unfortunately came to little in the end, although his next notable pass – this time to the right wing to find Amad – helped set up our best opportunity of the first half.
The Ivorian subsequently teed up Hannibal in the box, who saw his goal-bound shot diverted away by a great reaction save from Leeds keeper Kristoffer Klaesson.
Mason’s next involvement certainly would have been special had it come off: an attempted chip over Klaesson from around 25 yards out, after winning the ball back high up the pitch. Unfortunately, it could only glance off the top of the net on its way over but was enjoyed nonetheless by those watching on from the stands.
A foul on Ian Poveda moments later showed his eagerness to claim back possession again once more, along with an energy Erik also referenced we could expect from Mount, during his pre-match interview with MUTV.
There were several warm embraces from the stands for our new recruit as he took up our corner and free-kick duties, including before he swung in one of the former on the 25th minute, which nearly found the head of young Alvaro Fernandez, who had broke free of his marker.
Mount had his turn for another attempt on goal soon after, this time after the ball was laid back to him by Omari Forson on the edge of the penalty area, but the first-time strike went over the crossbar as United searched for an opener.
That pursuit continued right up until the interval – and Mount’s withdrawal – but there was enough time for another set-piece delivery, as half-time approached.
A free-kick in from the right was aimed at Lisandro Martinez – who had made a beeline for a quick chat on his way up into the box from the back – but the connection was thwarted by a defensive effort and a corner was awarded by the referee.
His on-the-ball involvements did draw a collective sense of anticipation from the crowd on regular occasions, although his work out-of-possession was also appreciated.
Racing back from an attacking position to successfully help Aaron Wan-Bissaka win the ball back was one of Mason’s final acts of a lively first outing in a United shirt.
It leaves plenty of intrigue around how else our new man can contribute during what’s still to come in pre-season and beyond.