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Ian Wright has slammed Mason Mount's critics over their "disgraceful" and "unfair" treatment of the Chelsea and England midfielder.
Mount has come under fire by Three Lions fans who believe he receives preferential treatment from manager Gareth Southgate despite his mixed form for his club.
The 21-year-old has also been seen as an obstacle to Jack Grealish earning more opportunities with the national team – though the pair started together in the 3-0 win over Ireland on Thursday.
Grealish has labelled the debate surrounding him and Mount "annoying", while fellow England midfielder Declan Rice has defended Mount, whom he described as "terrific".
Wright insists the "amount of stick" Mount receives is "unfair"
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And Wright insists Mount – who has won 11 caps for England – has earned his place in Southgate's set-up regardless of what the naysayers claim.
“It’s disgraceful the way people have talked about Mason Mount getting his berth in front of whoever," the former Arsenal and England striker told ITV Sport .
“Mason Mount is in there on credit and what he’s able to do.
Do you agree with Ian Wright's verdict that recent criticism of Mason Mount is "unfair"? Have your say here.
Mount impressed in central midfield in the win over Ireland
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"It’s unfair the amount of stick he gets for getting chosen by Gareth.”
Wright's comments were echoed by his fellow pundit and former Chelsea defender Ashley Cole.
He added: "I think the quality Mason brings to not just this England team, but the Chelsea team, he brings that energy, willingness to graft and run.
“That desire and work ethic, it’s a must, it’s the standard, but with quality, so I think it’s unfair to compare them (Mount and Grealish).”
Mount has scored one goal and provided three assists in 12 appearances for Chelsea this season.
Able to be used on either flank or centrally, he played alongside Harry Winks in central midfield in the victory over Ireland, while Grealish was deployed on the left wing.
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