Tottenham midfielder Ryan Mason believes the breakthrough of striker Harry Kane and himself into senior internationals proves young English talent can compete at the highest level if given a chance in the Barclays Premier League.
Kane, 21, scored just scored 79 seconds into his England debut when coming off the bench for the Euro 2016 qualifier against Lithuania at Wembley.
Mason, 23, is another player to have come through the international youth set-up, making the most of a late call-up by Roy Hogdson after injury to Adam Lallana.
The attack-minded midfielder came on for the closing stages of the friendly against Italy in Turin on Tuesday night, where his pass was smashed home by Spurs team-mate Andros Townsend to secure a 1-1 draw.
There has been much debate about how to improve the opportunities for home-grown talent, with Football Association chairman Greg Dyke determined to push through an increase in quotas.
Mason, though, believes the talent pool is already in place, and just needs a chance.
“You look at the Germans and the Spanish, they are not better than us technically,” said Mason, who had loan spells at the likes of Yeovil, Doncaster, Millwall, Lorient in France as well as Swindon before finally making his mark on the Spurs first-team under Mauricio Pochettino this season.
“It is just they get given the opportunity younger in their league, so then they get the opportunity to come and play (here) in the Premier League.
“It is important to bring young players through if they are good enough.
“You see what England Under-21s are doing now, they are unbelieveable. Hopefully that will continue and many more players will make the cut in the Premier League.”
Mason added: “I understand there is a lot of pressure on managers to get instant results, but English players know the league, and for them to be given the opportunity and the time as well, there is plenty of talent out there.
“Maybe some English players don’t get the time. They get a couple of opportunities and if they don’t perform, then that is it. The next one comes in or they bring someone in from abroad.
“They tend to give them (signing from overseas) a lot more time to settle in, but if English players can start coming through then it will benefit our national team.”
Mason believes Argentinian coach Pochettino deserves great credit for giving young talent a chance.
“He is honest and picks the team on how you are training, and if you are in the team and doing well then you are staying there, no matter what you have done in the past or who you are,” said Mason, who impressed on Spurs’ pre-season tour of the United States.
“It is brilliant for young players as he gives you that opportunity and he is not worried about putting you in.
“Hopefully many more managers in the Premier League can start doing that for the sake of English football.”
Mason admits it has been a “whirlwind” season after recovering from ankle surgery and an unproductive loan spell at Lorient in France.
“(A year ago) I was rehabbing my ankle, was sort of setting my sights on the start of this season, and I was pretty depressed to be fair,” said Mason, who revealed his parents were left “devastated” after strong winds prevented them from flying out to Italy to watch his debut in person.
“It was horrible watching the rest of the squad train. It is never nice for any young lad to have an operation and to be missing football, so obviously it was difficult.”
Mason was brought up in Enfield and has been at the club since the age of seven.
The midfielder is again set to be an integral part of the Spurs team when they head to Burnley on Sunday looking to close the gap up on the top four.
Mason added: “I would be lying if I said I didn’t think there were times when it wouldn’t happen here, but I always had the belief that I could sort of string a run of games together in the top flight.
“It took a lot longer than I would have wished for, but I wouldn’t change it because it has made me the sort of character and player I am.”
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