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Ryan Mason: “All I care about is this football club”

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Tottenham Interim Manager Ryan Mason held his first press conference ahead of Wednesday’s Premier League match against Southampton.

Tottenham Hotspur Training Session Photo by Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images

The Tottenham Hotspur manager held a press conference ahead of Wednesday’s home Premier League match against Southampton. However, this wasn’t the Tottenham manager we were used to seeing. Ryan Mason took to the microphone as a head coach for the first time in his career, faced a barrage of questions about his role, the team, and the ongoing drama swirling around his club, and handled himself quite well.

Mason first addressed the whirlwind 24 hours that saw Jose Mourinho fired and Ryan installed as the youngest manager in the history of the Premier League.

“It’s crazy. It’s football. I’ve had it as a player. Obviously I’ve had the experience of having to retire in this game. Anything can happen and you just have to be prepared and ready for what football can throw at you at times.

“I think my most important role is to try to get some positive results for the football club. I think it helps that I know a lot of the lads and have good relationships but listen, it’s a really good group of guys. They’re professional and work hard so that’s all you ask for as a coach. They’re willing to learn, willing to work and it’s something to look forward to.

“[Daniel Levy and I] had a very long conversation. I think it was yesterday morning, once the news broke I was in the building anyway because I had been working with the younger lads. We had a conversation. I took training and then we had another conversation and he asked me if I wanted it and if I was happy to help the club. Obviously I was and the group were happy as well which is the most important thing and we look forward now.”

Mason has been at Tottenham for almost his entire career and since he was a schoolboy, with only his final few years at Hull City as a professional player as a blip. He’s popular in the clubhouse and with supporters, and while he can’t say he’s a one-club man, he’s Tottenham through and through, and is absolutely thrilled to be managing his club.

“Many different emotions going through my body at the moment but probably the most important one is pride. I’ve been associated with this club for over 20 years and it’s been a very important time in my life. I feel very proud. I feel like I’ve got an excellent connection with the fans which I feel is important so yeah there’s a lot of pride in being given this opportunity to help this great football club.

“Any head coach will want to have an idea of how they want to play. To help the guys, to have a structure, a strategy of how to win games of football. And how I communicate that to the boys on the training pitch or in the classroom is a huge part of my job. The good thing is this group wants to listen, wants to learn and hopefully I can help them.

Ryan was also asked about whether he’s had any contact with either of the past two managers at Tottenham — Mauricio Pochettino, or Jose Mourinho. Mason admitted he’d been in text communication with Poch, but had not yet had the chance to speak with Mourinho.

“Yeah [Pochettino and I] exchanged a couple of messages and [with] a couple of the other staff from his team as well. He’s very busy understandably but we’ve always had a great relationship. He loves this club as well. He wished me all the best and I’m sure we’ll be in contact in future as well.

“I didn’t get the opportunity [to speak with Mourinho]. Obviously it all happened so fast for me in the morning yesterday so I didn’t have the opportunity. Listen, he’s been a great manager and has been a great manager for a very long time and I wish him all the best for the future.”

Predictably Mason was asked about Tottenham’s decision to join the now-dubbed “Dirty Dozen” and establish the European Super League, but Mason refused to be drawn into discussions, saying he did not have enough information about the ESL to be able to comment.

“As you can probably imagine, since 10 or 11 o’clock yesterday, my mind has been consumed by so many other things. I can’t give an honest answer if I don’t actually know what the situation consists of, so at the moment I’m not the person to ask. I don’t know enough about it, I don’t think a thing about it to answer the question.

“I think as you can probably imagine, not just me but everyone involved in this football club for the last 24 hours, the priority has been internally what’s been going on to sort everything out here. So I don’t know about fan reactions, I don’t know about anything, I really don’t. I’ve not watched any news, I can’t comment, I can’t answer, my focus has been on the team, everyone involved in this football club, the focus has been Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, what’s best for them, how are we going to move forward? So you’re asking the wrong question to the wrong person, unfortunately.”

Mason seems fully aware that this is an interim appointment and that he’s here to do a specific job for a club that needs him. To his credit, Mason expressed a deep love for Spurs and pride in his role as interim manager for the next couple of months.

“I think the most important thing is the football club, it’s Tottenham Hotspur, this isn’t Ryan Mason, this isn’t about me, my ego. All I care about is this football club. And the fact I’ve been trusted with leading the team out is a great honour of mine. But Tottenham Hotspur Football Club is the most important thing in the next 24 hours, in the next week, and until the end of the season, and for the future. So that’s the most important thing, is the football club.

“I think it’s no secret that I love this football club. To spend 20 years of my 29 years involved with this football club, it’s in my heart, it’s in my blood, of course it is. I’ve always felt a massive connection with the fans of the club. I’ve always had a great connection with anyone who works in the club, and that’s important. I’ve always felt loved.

“One thing I can guarantee is that I’ll give my all in the next seven games to prepare players to win football matches. The pride I feel is amazing. It’s one of those where I’ll probably not be able to take it in until the season’s done, but of course at the moment I feel immense pride.

Spurs kick off against Southampton at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium tomorrow, Wednesday April 21 at 1 pm EDT, 6 pm BST.