Mason Mount was left out of Chelsea’s starting lineup against Wolves to “take the weight” off his shoulders, according to boss Thomas Tuchel.
The 22-year-old captained the Blues in their 3-1 win over Luton Town in the FA Cup fourth round on Sunday and has been one of their best players this season.
But he was a shock omission from the side that faced Wolves on Wednesday night at Stamford Bridge in a game that ended goalless.
Mount came on in the 83rd minute and looked lively in his cameo spell.
And with Tuchel bringing in older heads such as Jorginho, Cesar Azpilicueta, and Olivier Giroud at the expense of homegrown talent Tammy Abraham, Mount, and Reece James, some feared this could be a sign for things to come for him.
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Indeed, some in the national media described his lineup as a “culling of the kids”.
But Tuchel has, perhaps, allayed those fears with his comments at today’s pre-match press conference ahead of the home clash against Burnley on Sunday.
When asked why Mount and Billy Gilmour, who started against Luton but missed out on the matchday squad yesterday, were left out of the team, he replied: “I wanted to take the weight off their shoulders.
“I wanted to give the responsibility in this special moment to a bit more experienced players and have them on hand.
“There is nothing to worry about, I like what I see from Mason so far. Such a nice and competitive guy.
“In every game I have seen so far, Mason cares for Chelsea, 100 per cent.
“This is the best basis for a big development. I am very happy to have him around, I will not stop pushing him and guiding him.
“For Billy, I have a good impression. He is a very strategic guy, very high level of game understanding, good in the first contact, clever positioning.
“We will see if he has the physical level. But he…