Ryan Mason has revealed that he squared up to senior teammates who were not pulling their weight during Mauricio Pochettino’s first season as manager.
Mason joined Spurs aged 7 and was one of a number of academy graduates promoted to the first-team when Pochettino joined the club in May 2014 and the midfielder, who retired from football aged 26 in February, says himself and Harry Kane were among the players to support Pochettino against a clique of “bad eggs”, who did not respond to the new manager’s methods.
“It’s no secret there were a few bad eggs at Tottenham,”: Mason told The Spurs Show podcast. “A lot of managers were scared to stand up to them and it was a case of the players being in control of the managers, really. I was so desperate to play for Spurs. It helped because I had Harry and some other boys [with me]. In the first few weeks of preseason, there were a few lads not giving as much as they should. We called them out, we had arguments…I squared up to a few senior players.
Mason added: “I think that’s why the fans now see connection with club and the players. And the gaffer coming in was part of that. You’ve got players now that actually care about the club and want to play. If you’re a new player, you can’t cut any corners. If you’re not putting work in you get called out.”
An article in the London Evening Standard describes how after initially putting faith in the old guard by naming Younes Kaboul and Emmanuel Adebayor as captain and vice-captain respectively, Pochettino soon banished a number of senior players from the team entirely, as the likes of Mason and Kane grew in prominence.
Mason did not elaborate on which players were the troublemakers but insisted one player he would never have confronted centre-back Kaboul.
“I want to save the names for my book,”:he said. “I can’t give away all the juicy bits. I’ll be honest, I wouldn’t have squared up to Younes, he’d flatten anyone.”
The article goes on to describe Mason admitted he was unhappy with the club for the manner of his exit in summer 2016, when he was sold to Hull City for £13million, but said that he would also save it for his upcoming book.
“It was nothing to do with the gaffer, but I felt like I should have been treated in a better way,” he said. “I found it hard to get over certain things that I believe shouldn’t have happened. If you’re not mentally 100% it’s very difficult to perform. I tried to get over it in preseason but i couldn’t. The gaffer said he wouldn’t stand in my way if you want to get games.”
Mason was forced to retired aged 26 after suffering a fractured skull while playing for Hull at Chelsea in January 2017.
You can check out the full interview, here.
Have something to tell us about this article?