I was conversing with my supervisor at work, who happens to be a fellow yiddo and we spoke in very glowing terms about the emergence of Ryan Mason. His tenacity, awareness and game presence were some of his strong points we shared views on. Disparity began to flare up though when my supervisor suggested Mason should be replaced in the summer or given a bit part role in the near future, to accommodate a more ‘capable’ player.
This sat down very bad with me as I am a massive fan of Ryan Mason. Digesting the assertion that he was a stop-gap until we could find a more ‘suitable’ replacement was a very bitter pill to swallow. Yet even more intriguing for me was, is that how every fan viewed Mason, as some kind of stop-gap? The anxiety of such a possibility shrouded me under a weight of gloom when I wondered how any Spurs fan could rate Mason with such insignificance but even more pressing to fathom was…was I in the majority or minority?
My wife sometimes gets startled and concerned with how often I rant and rave over Mason. You would have thought I was his Dad when he made his debut the other night for England. That’s how much much of a frenzy I was in! What makes him stand out is his passion at Spurs. You see what it means to him to be given that rare opportunity to shine for a club like ours. He’s not just a bag of emotions either, he is effective and ensures the midfield clock is always ticking. Sure, he is no Yaya Toure, Viera or Xavi but when you do the simple things so well and very efficiently, sometimes you don’t have to be. My praise for the lad does not mean he should be guaranteed a starting spot because ‘He is one of our own’. Nobody deserves a starting spot. The spot is there for whoever is willing to fight for it and boy does he fight!
Watching him hassle and close down players with his no nonsense tackles are a treat. Blessed with being comfortable on either foot, he is not afraid to shoot if the moment calls for it. Yet for all his strengths there are some very obvious weaknesses. The only way for us to know whether he is going to iron out the mistakes and flaws in his game is if we continue to give him the chance to shine. Fans should be eager to build the club around players who equally cherish the team they represent. I firmly believe, persisting with Mason and some of the other young hotspurs represents business-wise and football-wise, the best route for this club to take.
Mason may not be one of the glamour names at the moment. He may not be stamping his authority consistently in as many games as we would desire either. But one thing is for sure. His presence in the heart of the midfield with Bentaleb has made us look a better team than we have in a while. Getting behind Mason and the other young guns as they adapt to the rigors and demands of top flight football can only aid their development. For others, in favour of the splash the cash philosophy Baldini was appointed to oversee, big names will always be the order of the day. The downside that is overlooked in that way of thinking is that big names do not always reciprocate their big wages and big transfer fees with big performances. Ryan Mason should not be considered a stop gap. But rather the solution that stopped the gap in ineffective performances by senior players before his rise.
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