Ryan Mason believes that the job as manager of Tottenham Hotspur is one that will attract plenty of top candidates. Mason has been in charge at Tottenham for under two weeks and will be until the end of the campaign and while he admits he has ignored the speculation about the vacant position, he knows what a catch the club could be for someone.
Ryan Mason said: “I’ve not heard anything. I’ve shut myself off from it, but listen, this is Tottenham Hotspur Football Club. There’s always going to be people interested. We have the best stadium in the world in my opinion, and also the best training complex in the world. It’s a fantastic group of players and a fantastic fan base. So of course it’s going to be appealing. It’s a great football club. I’m probably biased because I feel passionately about it, but it’s a big football club as well.”
Ryan Mason added: “I think there’s going to be speculation because of the situation we’re in. I don’t want to spend too much energy talking about managers, because at this moment in time I’m the one leading and preparing the team and everyone associated with the club has to be pulling in the right direction these next five games. We’re not thinking about the next manager or who’s coming in.”
Mason, just 29, has had to take on a lot in an incredibly short spell of time, winning his first match as a manager with Spurs mounting a comeback to beat Southampton before leading the team into the Carabao Cup final against Manchester City. He was asked whether the sudden education he has received and the sink or swim nature of it has made him think he might be ready to be a manager full-time sooner rather than later.
Ryan Mason said: “In my experience as a player you have to be ready, have to prepare yourself and you have to think and feel like things are going to happen. I had that as a player. I was playing a reserve game at Sunderland in the U23s on the Monday night and then on the Wednesday night I was at White Hart Lane scoring against Nottingham Forest and then that Saturday I made my Premier League debut at the Emirates in a north London derby. So I don’t think I would have been prepared for that in terms of ‘was he ready?’, but mentally I believed I was. I pictured those moments and I felt like I was ready for it so when it came I was ready and I acted in a way that it felt normal and it’s no different to the last three, three and a half years as a coach. You think, you see the game in a certain way, you speak. You act a certain way with certain people to prepare yourself. I think it’s easy to say ‘he’s young, he’s unprepared’. Yes of course I don’t have the top flight experience that a 40 or 50-year-old would have but what I do have is 20 years of experience with this football club, I know everyone whether that’s the kitman, the cleaners, the groundsman, I know everyone. Everyone knows me. I have personal relationships with everyone in this football club so you can’t underestimate how important that is in an organisation, especially the structure we have in place here and that we want going forward. That’s important. Very important in any walk of life you work in. Of course I’m not silly, not naïve. I’m 29, I am young but I’m very passionate about football. I believe I know the game and I believe I can communicate as well with the players and with the players there is a respect there which if you don’t have when you’re 40, when you’re 50, you’re not going to be able to communicate and get messages across so there is a respect there and I’m sure that’s going to stay for the next five games.”
Mason has admitted it has taken a little to for him since he retired from the game to shift from a player’s mentality to a coach’s one.
Ryan Mason said: “It takes time, it takes time, it takes effort. You have to work at these things. Some things might not come natural to some and you have to be aware. Analyse your performance as a coach on the training pitch, how you communicate with players. I’ve been very lucky that I had one of, if not the best, coach educators in the world in terms of John McDermott. I was very lucky to come back and work with him. I had the exposure of seeing how Mauricio [Pochettino] and his coaching team worked and also Jose and his coaching team as well so in my three and half years as a coach I’ve been exposed to more than some people get exposed to in 20, 30 years of coaching so I’ve been very lucky. Very fortunate in terms of that and also I’ve been very aware of that so I’ve looked a lot. I’ve listened, tried to understand why they acted in certain ways at certain times so my three and half years as a coach, I believe is maybe 15, 20 years in other people’s lives.”
A large number of the current Tottenham squad were Mason’s team-mates when he became a first team regular under Pochettino. He revealed that he has not insisted they call him anything other than what they always have.
Ryan Mason said: “That was one of the first things I said to them. I do not expect to be called gaffer or boss. Call me what you have been calling me for the last five or 10 years or however long I have known you. The most important thing for me is the respect. You can call me what you want but if you don’t respect me then it is not a good way. So the respect is there from everyone. Not just the players but the groundsman, the kit men, everyone. I have a good relationship with everyone. That is the most important thing and then getting those messages across to the group becomes a lot easier.”