His career ended prematurely in a horrifying manner, but Ryan Mason is making the best of a bad situation.
Mason returned to Hotspur Way to gain some necessary practical coaching experience in Spurs’ academy as he begins his pursuit of his coaching badges. Ryan, while at Hull City, was incredibly unlucky to suffer a fractured skull and be forced into early retirement, but he seems to be approaching his new life in football in a positive manner.
He spoke a bit with Spurs’ website as he spent his day at the training center in his home borough of Enfield.
“I’m happy, that’s the most important thing.”
“I’m alive and I’m happy. It’s a whole new challenge that I’m stepping into now - I’ve done bits of media, I’m doing coaching, it’s just the next step in my career. To be honest I was hoping it would be at 35 or 36 years old but I’m 26, it’s happened, I’ve got a head-start on everyone and I’m keen to make the most of the next 10 years.”
“I’ve always been positive throughout the whole injury. That’s the reality. It’s the best way to be - positive. I’m excited for the future now.”
Not many of us can relate to the type of trauma that Mason has undergone and survived, but his attitude is genuinely inspirational. He did always seem like the kind of player who would want to go into coaching after retiring from playing the game.
I can’t think of any better venues for Ryan to learn about coaching than at Tottenham’s training facilities at Hotspur Way.
“I’ve been in a couple of weeks now and it’s a great thing to be starting the next chapter. I’m fortunate enough to be in a position where the club have offered their help so it was a no-brainer to come back in and at the same time get cracking with my badges.”
”At the moment I’m just observing as much as I can. I’ve joined in with little bits and taken little bits as well. I’m doing work with the young boys, with the reserves (Under-23s), with everyone, so I can hopefully pass on my knowledge and help them out.”
“I don’t know where I want to go with it yet. If you were to say, ‘would I be a manager?’, I don’t know. I don’t know whether I want to stay coaching kids. It’s just a case of coming in, finding the path and seeing where I want to go with it all but I’m loving it, I’m loving being back out there and being involved with football - especially here as well because it’s all I’ve known for so long. It’s good to be back home.”
“I‘ve always stayed in contact with people here,” he explained. “I was at the club for 18 years and even though I left to go to Hull, the club never left me. It’s always been my club, I was always keen to come back and when that opportunity arose it wasn’t a case of thinking that I needed time, I was keen to get back in and get started as soon as possible.”
Ryan’s experience has been undoubtedly made better by those who have come in and supported him during such a difficult time. Petr Cech, who suffered a similar head injury in 2006, has spoken to Mason on numerous occasions to help him through the experience. Hull City have done their part, and Spurs’ fans can be proud of the way the club has stepped in with assistance as well.
In the immediate aftermath of Mason’s retirement, Mauricio Pochettino made it clear that Tottenham would always be there for Ryan.
️ Mauricio on @RyanMason: "He's had success as a player and he's going to succeed in everything he wants to do in the future." #OneOfOurOwn pic.twitter.com/gEQ8yWeJsr— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) February 14, 2018
Mason eventually moved on from Spurs, but in his time at the club he personified a lot of things about its recent history. Just like Harry Kane, he was an academy graduate from North London who made it all the way through to the first team. That’s why he often heard the same chants that Kane did at White Hart Lane and elsewhere. “Ryan Mason, he’s one of our own.”