Ryan Mason has claimed that he is able to command the respect of the Tottenham squad despite being relatively inexperienced as a coach.
Mason became the youngest head coach in Premier League history when he took over the reins towards the end of the 2020-21 season after Jose Mourinho was sacked.
The 31-year-old has now been thrust into the same role again and he would perhaps take confidence from the fact that he led Spurs to four wins from six Premier League games when he was put in charge two years ago.
Mason played alongside the likes of Harry Kane, Hugo Lloris, Eric Dier and Ben Davies at Spurs but he insisted that his friendship with some Spurs players will not affect his decision-making as a head coach.
When asked about his relationship with the squad, the 31-year-old told Football.London: “Naturally in the last two years since I have been in the first team coaching it is not a friendship, it is a professional working relationship.
“There is respect there – there has always been respect there – but ultimately they knew two years ago and they know now that I am a decision-maker. That’s my job.
“They are going to have to respect that and understand that and I am going to make decisions which I feel are the best for the team to get a result.”
Mason also pointed out that while he is still young for a manager, he is far from inexperienced in coaching, having made the transition to the role quite early in his career.
When asked if taking on the job two years ago had focused him on becoming a head coach, he responded: “Possibly. I’ve always said in football and life that you have to deal with what is in front of you.
“At that time there was a lot of uncertainty but looking at it now I know I’m ready to help the group and deal with the situation in a good way.
“I’m young, yes, but not in terms of a coach. Six years of coaching solid is a long time – a normal player retires at 35 and if you fast forward six years then you’re 40, 41 and the perception is probably totally different.
“In terms of my age, I may be young but not in terms of my coaching experience.”
Spurs Web Opinion
Mason’s point about his experience as a coach is a fair one.
In fact, he would have likely matured a lot more in the two years since he last took charge as interim coach, given that he has had the chance to work under Conte.
In Pochettino and Conte, the 31-year-old has now been exposed to two very different leadership and tactical styles, and I am sure he would have taken elements of both into his own philosophy.
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