Ryan Mason is no longer a professional footballer. Mason, a former Tottenham player who Spurs sold to Hull City in 2016, sustaining a horrific head injury last year in a clash with Chelsea’s Gary Cahill. He posted on Instagram yesterday that he had “no option but to retire” from football on the advice of his doctor.
While his playing days are over, his former gaffer at Spurs has suggested that he’ll always have a home at Tottenham Hotspur. Mauricio Pochettino talked about Mason’s retirement and his relationship with the midfielder in a press conference yesterday, and even seem to hint that Mason could eventually find a position within the Tottenham organization.
“It’s very sad news but at the same time he opened a massive door with his future for him and his family. He’s 26 but he’s an amazing person and a good football brain
“He was a very successful player and he will be a very successful person and everything he wants to do, he’s going to do. He will always be a special player for me because he represents the change in all the processes when we arrived at Tottenham.
“For me, Ryan is a player that will always be special. And of course, the door is open to help him, from myself, us, the coaching staff. Because we love him, and we love... all his family.”
Pochettino can be fiercely loyal to his players and former players, and with a few exceptions, those same players return that loyalty to him. Ryan Mason was one of those players that embraced what Pochettino preached with regards to work ethic, tactics, and attitude. It’s why Pochettino plucked him out of the academy and made him an important part of Spurs’ midfield in the first couple of years of his tenure.
“It was difficult from the beginning for him to cope with the training sessions, they’re very tough. We travelled to America [in preseason] and I met him in the airport and after talking for 30 minutes, I said to Jesus [Perez], ‘Wow, I love Ryan. I don’t know if he plays well or not but I love him as a man!’
“The first game we played against Seattle, he understood everything. After only a few training sessions, he understood everything, [including] what another player needs a year to understand — the tactics, the movement, the concepts. I said we have a very good player. He started to show great quality in training.
“When we decided to put him in against Arsenal, we said to John McDermott, ‘You’re responsible too! You think he can he cope with the pressure?’ John said, ‘Yes of course, if he plays he is going to give his best’.”
Mason’s injury was awful, but it’s good to know that he has the full support of the club that gave him his chance for Premier League football, just as I’m sure he has the full support at Hull City. I don’t know if he’ll end up going into management, but I can’t think of a better place to hone his coaching skills than at Spurs. If he has the footballing brain that Pochettino says he does, I’d like to keep him close by.