Cartilage Free Captain is reviewing each of Spurs' first team players and evaluating their season. The series continues today with Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Ryan Mason.
Yellow cards: 12
Red cards induced: 1 (LOL Benteke)
Minutes played: 2,596
What went right?
Where to start, where to start? Well, for starters, Ryan Mason finally proved that he had Premier League talent. For years, he'd been one of the most hyped prospects in our academy, but then he fell off the radar due to injuries and being surpassed by the likes of Tom Carroll, Andros Townsend, and Harry Kane. Mason took this year and went from an attacking midfielder who'd be just alright in League One and became a central midfielder who was just alright in the Premier League. Sometimes, all of Mason's work and effort in the middle of the park lead to stuff like this:
Mason provided a lot of energy and running for Spurs, and when played with a sturdy defensive presence, like Etienne Capoue, Mason's ability to get forward and make late runs into the box, and play cutting passes made itself evident. Mostly, however, he was asked to play beside Nabil Bentaleb and the two only really flourished when teams let them have time and space on the ball. It was a bad situation and one where Mason couldn't possibly succeed, but he worked hard and made the best of it.
What went wrong?
Anything that had anything to do with defending. Sure, Mason was all energy moved around a lot and pressed all over the pitch, but that often left him and the rest of his teammates badly exposed in the center of the pitch. Mason also failed miserably at tracking runners from midfield. Mason still has attacking midfielder instincts. As a #10, with two central midfielders behind him, he can run all over the place and harry the ball. As one of those central midfielders, and one not paired with a particularly defensive partner, Mason never really grasped the concepts of shape and positioning. In addition, that thigh tattoo. Ew.
Finally, I still maintain that the horrendous Ben Davies Southampton incident was mostly Mason's fault.
I have no clue. Mason and Bentaleb are both sort of in limbo at the moment. Tottenham are obviously looking into additional midfielders, one of which may be Morgan Schneiderlin. I think that Pochettino really likes Mason and really appreciates his work rate. In an ideal world, Mason could move forward to the number 10 position, where his industriousness and attacking instincts would be a huge asset. However, I wouldn't be surprised to see him earn another 2,500 minutes in central midfield next season doing exactly what we saw this year.
Grade: 3.5 Chirpys