Frank Lampard was watching with royalty back in London and Petr Cech was in the Sinobo Stadium stands to see Mason Mount make his first England start. But Chelsea’s head coach and technical and performance advisor will have been scratching their heads, wondering where exactly Mount had been asked to start against the Czech Republic.
Mount has excelled for Chelsea, earning his England place, on the left side of a midfield three or on the left of a forward trio. But the 20-year-old was asked to play the first half in the number 10 role in Prague.
Gareth Southgate has not suffered too many bad nights as England manager, but this was one. His change of formation meant Mount effectively had to start in a front four, just behind striker Harry Kane and, in the first half, it did not work.
It was an odd move from Southgate, who, in trying to offer England’s shaky back four more protection, effectively left Mount in no man’s land. Southgate admitted as much by changing his formation for the second period, allowing Mount to play slightly further back on the left of a more conventional midfield three. And, unsurprisingly, Chelsea’s academy graduate looked far more at home.