Ryan Mason promises Tottenham will be ‘brave and aggressive’ as he expresses ‘immense pride’

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Dan Kilpatrick
·4-min read
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 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Interim head-coach Ryan Mason promised a return to Tottenham's historic attacking principles as he revealed his “immense pride” at managing his boyhood club.

In his first press conference since replacing Jose Mourinho on Monday, Mason talked-up his connection to the club where he has spent 20 of his 29 years and offered an antidote to his predecessor's dour tenure by saying his side would be "brave and aggressive" in the final seven matches of the campaign.

Mason came through the club's academy and was forced to retire three years ago after suffering a fractured skull while playing for Hull City.

The former England international admits he would have expected to be in the prime of his career, rather than preparing to be the first under-30 to manage in the Premier League against Southampton before leading Spurs out at Wembley in Sunday's Carabao Cup Final.

"I thought I'd still be playing football, I'm probably in my prime of footballing ability," Mason said over Zoom ahead of Saints visit on Wednesday.

"But football is a crazy, crazy sport. It's bizarre, I experienced so much as a player, I had to deal with so much, having the serious injury, fighting for my life, coming back, having to retire, coming back to this great football club and representing them as a coach and learning...it's crazy.

"I have always had [a love for the game], I love it, I love being around the place. The fact I am representing this football club and the fact I get the opportunity to walk us out at this beautiful stadium is a great honour.

"There's many different emotions going through my body at the moment but probably the most important one is pride.

"I've been associated with this club for over 20 years and it's been a very important time in my life. I feel very proud.

"I think it's no secret that I love this football club. To spend 20 years of my 29 years involved with this football club, it's in my heart, it's in my blood, of course it is.

“I've always felt a massive connection with the fans of the club. I've always had a great connection with anyone who works in the club. And that's important. I've always felt loved.

“Oe thing I can guarantee is that I'll give my all in the next seven games to prepare players to win football matches. I feel immense pride.”

Mourinho faced accusations of cautious football and failing to play to his squad’s attacking strengths during his 17-month tenure but Mason suggested he would look to return the team to the front foot.

“I’d hope to think [my side] is what a Tottenham Hotspur side would historically look like,” he said.

“I want us to be brave and aggressive, to play like Tottenham Hotspur.”

Mason will have an opportunity to end Tottenham’s 13-year wait for a trophy when he leads the side out at Wembley in Sunday’s Carabao Cup Final against Manchester City.

"The most important thing is the football club, it's Tottenham Hotspur, this isn't Ryan Mason, this isn't about me, my ego,” said the former midfielder, who was part of the side that lost the 2015 League Cup Final.

“All I care about is this football club. And the fact I've been trusted with leading the team out is a great honour of mine.

“But Tottenham Hotspur Football Club is the most important thing in the next 24 hours, in the next week, and until the end of the season, and for the future. So that's the most important thing, is the football club.”

Many of Spurs's current squad are Mason's friends and former teammates but he insists he will have no difficulty in managing the squad and says his appointment marks a clean slate for everyone, after a number of key players were frozen out under Mourinho.

Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images
Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images

“Absolutely no problem. They're professionals. We're footballers and we're in the business where these things happen. There won't be a problem with the guys, I'm sure of that.

"Of course [it’s a clean slate for everyone].

“ Whatever happened before, I wasn't involved with, I'm not too sure what happened.”

Mason will be assisted by experienced pair Nigel Gibbs and Chris Powell, with support from Ledley King and former teammate Michel Vorm, who is returning to the club as goalkeeping coach.

He also revealed he had exchanged messages with ex-Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino, who gave him his breakthrough back in 2014.

"Yeah, we exchanged a couple of messages and [with] a couple of the other staff from his team as well,” Mason said of the Argentine.

“He’s very busy understandably but we've always had a great relationship. He loves this club as well. He wished me all the best and I’m sure we’ll be in contact in future as well."

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