Gareth Southgate has the pleasure of making the difficult decision between two exciting prospects, Mason Mount and James Maddison, as he begins to prepare his side for EURO 2020.
Mount featured but Maddison was left on the bench as England defeated Bulgaria 4-0 at Wembley.
The Chelsea midfielder was brought on in the 67thminute in replacement for Jordan Henderson however Maddison looks likely to feature against Kosovo.
Who should Southgate build his side around? Mount or Maddison? Or could the England manager find a way of utilising both?
Mount or Maddison?
Chelsea’s 20-year-old midfielder has scored twice in four appearances for the Blues and has posed a constant goal threat to the opposition.
Leicester City’s 22-year-old playmaker has also featured four times in the league assisting twice however he has yet failed to find the back of the net.
This Premier League campaign Mount has averaged 3.5 shots a game with 1.75 of those on target. In comparison, Maddison has averaged 3.25 shots a game but has failed to hit the target suggesting Chelsea’s youngster possesses greater threat in the final third.
Mount outshines Maddison in the shooting department however in the playmaking department, it is a different story.
The former Norwich City midfielder has assisted twice so far while Mount is yet to lay on a goal for his team-mate and has also completed 28 more passes.
However, Maddison has a passing completion of 75.8% compared to the former Derby County midfielder’s 83.2%.
Maddison has also completed a considerably higher amount of forward and backwards passes with nearly 50 more touches of the ball.
Mount has demonstrated his potentially superior composure on the ball having been dispossessed three fewer times than Maddison.
Fortunately for Mount the defensive stats are in favour of the man from Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea’s youngster has made four more tackles, three more interceptions, four more clearances and won one more aerial battle than Maddison.
With it still early in the season Southgate will continue to assess the pair’s progress for club and country before he makes his decision.
Mount and Maddison will have to prove why they are the best man for the job as they also face competition from the likes of Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Dele Alli and Jesse Lingard.
With age Maddison seems to possess greater playmaking ability and creative flair to produce chances for the team. Leicester’s number ten will flourish more so in games where England look to break down teams.
Whereas Mount looks to be the better option in a game where England will be pressing from the front playing on the counter-attack against teams that enjoys more possession.
‘Mount is in on merit’
Mount was selected for England by Southgate ahead of the EURO Qualifiers and featured as a second half substitute against Bulgaria.
He has previously been chosen by Southgate from the U21s to train with the men’s team and has earned his senior debut on merit.
“I think Mount has been one of the outstanding players in the league already this season,” said Southgate. "In Mason's case he's here on merit. It's as simple as that. He looks like threatening the goal every game that he plays.”
‘Both players that can threaten the goal’
In an interview earlier in the year, Southgate explained his reasoning for leaving Maddison out of his squad.
“I think he is a No 10 and, at the moment, we have not been playing with a 10,” he said.
However, it seems as if the England manager has since changed his mind.
Southgate said: “Mason can definitely play as an eight and equally off the wing as well. They are [both] players of high technical ability who are going to threaten the goal.”