Chelsea midfielder Mason Mount says he is ready to assume the responsibility of captaincy amid speculation Cesar Azpilicueta is on the verge of joining Barcelona.
The long-serving defender has spent nine trophy-laden years at the club but is keen for a new challenge and is set to join the Catalan giants after months of negotiations.
Azpilicueta is on Chelsea’s pre-season tour of America and played in the 2-1 victory over Club America last week, before sitting out Wednesday’s defeat against Charlotte with a minor hamstring strain.
In his absence, Mount wore the armband and the Chelsea academy graduate is ready to step into the breach whenever needed.
‘Yes, I am still young and I am still learning but whenever the opportunity comes to step up I want to take it,’ Mount told reporters.
‘Obviously, the gaffer trusted me with captaining the side in the second half and I take that responsibility. Whether we win, whether we lose I always want to be the won to be able to take it. ‘To take it on the chin if we win and obviously if we lose as well.’
Senior midfielders like N’Golo Kante and Jorginho would also represent outstanding candidates to take over from Azpilicueta, as well as Kalidou Koulibaly who skippered Napoli during his eight years with the Serie A club.
Mount might be the youngest of the group but his credentials are obvious, even if his leadership style might differ from previous Chelsea skippers.
‘I’m naturally not the most vocal,” he added. “I’ve never really been that. When I was captain of the Under-18 FA Youth Cup side I was always someone who tried to lead by example on the pitch.
‘But you have to bring that as well and that’s something I am constantly trying to learn from the likes of Azpi and Jorgi who have been captains of this club. Just trying to learn from them and trying to add that to my game.
‘Even if you are not someone who leads with the ball and leads on the pitch you have to have that other side as well.’
‘We want to be role models to the players that are under-six, under-seven, under-eights, that are coming through looking up to us and what we’ve done over the last couple of years,’ he added when asked whether his progress offers encouragement to the potential Chelsea stars of the future.
‘So we just have to keep setting a good example and keep working hard because we are still young and we all still have loads more to achieve. That’s our goal and that’s our pathway at the moment.’