Ryan Mason has rubbished suggestions that he shows favouritism to his friends when it comes to team selections, insisting that he always makes the decisions he believes are best for the team.
The Tottenham squad will know Mason well by now, with the 31-year-old having already assumed the role as interim head coach two years ago and also having worked as part of Antonio Conte‘s coaching staff.
Some of the players in the current squad such as Hugo Lloris, Harry Kane, Eric Dier and Ben Davies have also lined up alongside the former Spurs midfielder during his playing days, which might raise some question marks about whether he would be able to gain their respect as a manager.
However, Mason insisted that he, like any other player or coach, would have to earn the squad’s respect based on the way he conducts himself rather than pre-existing relationships.
He told Football.London: “I think when we talk about respect, I think everyone needs to earn everyone’s respect at every moment.
“That’s not just me. That’s not because I played with a group of some of the players and they naturally respect me, that’s not the case.
“I earn my respect and I expect everyone in these walls to respect each other and be working together for the football club. That is the most important thing for any football club.
“Every member of staff is valued, because there’s so many people here to put a lot of hours and a lot of energy into Tottenham Hotspur, and they need to feel part of something, and certainly, that’s the best situation for the club.”
During Mason’s previous stint as interim head coach two years ago, there were suggestions from some fans that he ‘picks his mates’ instead of selecting the team based on merit.
When this was put to the former Tottenham midfielder, he responded: “That’s an absolute myth.
“I’ve never heard that, but if you’re saying that, it’s not true.
“My job is to pick a team that I feel is best capable of winning a football match.
“It’s not a case of having friends. That was clear two years ago and that’s clear now.
“I’m in a position where I need to do a job to the best of our abilities with my coaching team. We’re professionals so every decision we make is in the best interests of the team and the football club.”
The 31-year-old’s decision to drop Eric Dier for the clash against Crystal Palace was perhaps evidence that he is not shy of making decisions that might upset those the is close with.
Mason revealed that he was pleased with the way the centre-back responded to being left out of the starting eleven.
On dropping Dier, he said: “He’s a professional and he’s responded how I expected him to respond and how I would expect any one of the squad players to respond in a professional manner, and understand that sometimes you have to make difficult decisions for the team.
“He came on and contributed to the three points. He had an important role in a couple of set pieces and was ready to help the team, so as I expected.”
Spurs Web Opinion
While I have no doubt that Mason has the respect of the squad, I think the situation would be a lot different if he is handed the reins full-time.
His true test would come when there is a slump in results as the players might start losing faith in his tactics, given that he does not have a track record to prove that his methods can work at the highest level.
That is perhaps why the Tottenham hierarchy will not want to take the risk of throwing the 31-year-old in at the deep end.
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