Mason Mount gave his shirt to young fan Belle McNally after the win over Denmark
It started with a flag bearing his name catching the corner of Mason Mount’s eye as he warmed up.
Three hours later, after Denmark were defeated and a historic place in the European Championship final secured, he saw the red-haired girl with the flag again and brushed past security to give her his shirt.
Belle McNally’s reaction of pure elation, sobbing uncontrollably, was caught on camera and went viral as a 20-second clip showing what it means to support England this summer, when fans have been back in stadiums and have reconnected with players.
“It was something I had planned,” Mount said. “The game finished and we were celebrating on that side and I saw they had the flag up again. So I just thought I would give it to her and that was it. Sometimes, it’s more than football.
“She’ll remember that for a long time and I’ll remember it for a long time. To get into a final with your country is special and to do that afterwards topped it off for me. It was like a cherry on top. To see that reaction was very special.”
Thank you for capturing this special moment Rem! ❤️ https://t.co/CElSsp1io1
— Mason Mount (@masonmount_10) July 8, 2021
Mount had plenty of time to consider what it means to play for England while he was isolated from the rest of the squad between facing Scotland and Czech Republic after close contact with Billy Gilmour, who later returned a positive test for Covid-19.
The Chelsea midfielder, sitting on the wooden benches at England’s St George’s Park base, points over his shoulder to the pitches where he made his debut for the country in the under-16s. The last instructions from his dad, Tony, were about the national anthem rather than the game or how he should play.
“Ever since I made my first game with England at under-16 level, my dad said that whenever I get the opportunity to sing the national anthem, sing it loud and proud,” Mount said. “And that’s what I’ve always tried to do. It’s such a special moment.
“That’s one of my favourite things ever to stand there and to have a nearly packed-out Wembley with all those fans in there and everyone singing the national anthem. So I’m just trying to belt it out.”
Mount will be belting out the anthem on Sunday night when he faces Italy. During his childhood, being an England fan meant the fury of seeing Frank Lampard’s “goal” disallowed against Germany in 2010 and jumping off the sofa in disbelief.
Mason Mount (second from right) belts out the national anthem at Euro 2020
Credit: GETTY IMAGES
“I’ve seen all the videos,” Mount said. “But we’re here to create our own history. What’s happened in the past, we have a huge respect for. The pictures you see after the games, that’s something we want to create.
“I’ll always remember Frank Lampard’s disallowed – well, not disallowed but the goal that didn’t go in. There was no Var back then. Nor any goal-line technology, so the game’s changed.”
Mount will look to join a group of nine players who have won the Champions League and Euros in the same season. He says playing in a European club final will help with the occasion and will also be facing his Chelsea team-mate Jorginho, who is also trying to join that select group of double winners.
“Jorginho’s a prankster. When we go out to training there’s like this big microwave which heats the boots up so that when you put them on it feels nice and it’s not tough and hard,” Mount said.
“Some of the boys put their boots in that and when you have studs that are metal and take it out, they get boiling hot. So when he walks out and everyone is putting their boots on he puts a hot stud on your leg. It burns your leg! He’s done that a couple of times to me.”
Mount likes a prank himself, and filming Declan Rice waking up with a shock was a hit on social media. “It gets better and better every time you watch it. I didn’t think it was going to go that crazy but it did. It’s gold, isn’t it. It’s absolute gold,” he said.
Should he and Rice become European champions with England, there is likely to be an ad hoc celebration somewhere on holiday. They are not planning anything for after Sunday night yet, with all focus on the prize.
He may also keep his shirt rather than give it to a fan. “The final top – that is something that you keep,” he said. But that moment with Belle will last forever for Mount.