Mason Mount could hardly have started the UEFA European Under-19 Championship any better, and continued in similar vein as England took the trophy for the first time.
The Chelsea midfielder only appeared in two of the six qualifiers – scoring against Norway in his first game – as England reached the finals, but he hit the ground running in Georgia. With less than 60 seconds on the clock on matchday one, he expertly fired England in front against Bulgaria, setting up a 2-0 win.
"I know what these tournaments are about; it helps me and a couple of other boys were at the U17s [in 2015]," Mount told UEFA.com. "We're taking each game as it comes but the goal is to win the tournament. That's always been the goal, and we have the chance to do that if we play to our full potential."
Mount's masterclass came against Germany in England's final Group B game. With England a goal up and needing a point to be sure of a semi-final place, Mount set up Ben Brereton to make it 2-0 and then, after Germany had pulled one back, produced two sublime passes for Ryan Sessegnon to score twice in the final ten minutes.
A 1-0 semi-final defeat of the Czech Republic set up a final meeting against Portugal, and Mount was once more to the fore as Keith Downing's side got their hands on the trophy at last. His free-kick from 25 metres out beat Diogo Costa and came back off the upright; with the goalkeeper stranded Easah Suliman headed the rebound into the unguarded net for the opening goal.
A Dujon Sterling own goal restored parity but England claimed victory thanks to more excellent work from Mount, who raced clear down the right and drew two defenders plus the goalkeeper before squaring the ball to provide Lukas Nmecha with a simple finish. "Mason set me up – he won the ball and I didn't expect him to pass it, he normally puts them away himself," said match-winner Nmecha. "I don't know if I would have passed, so big thanks to Mason, it's won us the game."
Mount himself showed the confidence that had underpinned his performances throughout the tournament when asked if he had expected to win. "100% I thought we'd be standing here," he told UEFA.com. "I knew it. We had so much confidence, we knew we could get through the group and the semi, if we got to the final we knew we'd win it. Getting a goal and four assists has been a good tournament for me, but you do it for the group – all I care about is us winning."
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