Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has backed Mason Mount to adapt to his deeper midfield role after a period of time.
The England international joined the Red Devils from Chelsea before pre-season, and he was a starter in each of the club’s friendlies.
There were no surprises that Mount made his full United debut in the curtain-raiser, and Ten Hag has high hopes on the 24-year-old.
Mount was often higher up the field against Wolverhampton Wanderers, having played in more advanced positions at his former club.
However, Ten Hag believes he can play deeper in the number eight role, but the process will take time.
He told Manutd.com: “I think he can [play deeper]. Already, we have seen it in pre-season, but it’s what I’ve said, definitely we have to work on many facets of our game but also that facet about midfield and the co-operation, how we have to set it.”
“I’m sure we will get it [right], but it’s not coming overnight and [if] it was easier then everyone could do it.”
The Dutch tactician added to give Christian Eriksen’s debut season as an example, and feels Mount has the technical abilities and the mentality to become a key player from central midfield.
He added: “Christian Eriksen, last season, came in and had the same. First time in his life he played in a deeper role and that was the ambition from Christian and then also the ambition from Mason.”
“And so he wants to be more multifunctional. That’s the way I see football, but as I say, it will not come overnight. There’s a process we have to go through, but he’s very game-intelligent.
“He has the technical abilities, has also good vision on the ball. He knows how to deal with the ball. He has the dynamics, don’t forget that. He has the mentality. So, all the ingredients are there to do it.”
Mount had an unconvincing debut at Old Trafford on Monday night. He was out of position on a number of occasions which left Casemiro isolated and outnumbered in the centre of the park.
The Brazilian won only three out of 15 duels contested and lost possession on 17 occasions. He will need more support from the summer signing when United face Spurs on the road today.
Meanwhile, the forwards also need to step with their performances. United lost possession on a staggering 39 occasions in the attacking third against Wolves – the most by any team on Matchday 1.
Wolves failed to capitalise with their poor finishing and decision-making, but Spurs would present a bigger threat, though they no longer have Harry Kane to lead the line for them.
United have a good record against Spurs, having won 13 points from the last five outings. Their only setback was last season when they surrendered a two-goal lead on the road to draw 2-2.
Stats from Sofascore.com