Erik ten Hag makes exciting Mason Mount prediction and sets him Manchester United challenge

Mason Mount returns to face former side Chelsea with Man Utd on Thursday night.

It is safe to say things haven't exactly gone to plan for Mason Mount in a Manchester United shirt so far.

United spent an initial £55 million to sign the 25-year-old from Chelsea last summer, rather than risking it by waiting another year when he would have been available on a free transfer. Erik ten Hag identified him as his top midfield target and United put their faith in the England international by giving him the famous No.7 squad number to match.

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Yet rather than lift the infamous No.7 curse he must have wondered whether or not he had been cursed himself. Mount has only played in 14 out of a possible 41 games this season and has not started in the Premier League for almost five months after a lengthy injury lay-off.

That could change tonight though. Ten Hag has eased the pressure on Mount ahead of his Stamford Bridge return but he heads into the match on the back of his first United goal in their 1-1 draw with Brentford on Saturday.

It was clear to see the relief on Mount's face when he looked to have won the match last weekend and Ten Hag is confident that he will go on to become a 'big player' for the club.

Asked if he was surprised that Chelsea had even sold Mount to them last summer, he told reporters: "I don't think they wanted to sell him. They wanted to keep him and offered him a new contract many times. But he wanted to make this step. We are very pleased he is a Manchester United player because he has great abilities and will contribute and become a big player for Manchester United."

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When asked about what Mount needed to do next to establish a regular starting spot in his team, Ten Hag eased the immediate pressure and challenged him to prove his fitness levels first.

Ten Hag added: "He's a fantastic football player but it's important first that he is getting and keeping fit because he has had three injuries. Like with Licha, another injury, you want to avoid and we have to do this carefully. The first objective is to keep him fit. that he can benefit and contribute to the team like he did on Saturday when he had a big impact."

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