The Big Interview - Ryan Mason
10 June 2015|Tottenham Hotspur
A thunderbolt goal, a dream debut, a first Premier League goal, first England call, first England cap, a cup final at Wembley, 37 appearances - where do you even start to sum-up Ryan Mason's magnificent breakthrough season?
The answer perhaps is none of the above.
For Ryan, the breakthrough was just one hurdle, the biggest of his career so far, granted, but he knows the real challenge is just starting - and that is to maintain his place in the team next season.
So as we reflect on a 2014-15 that he'll never forget, the midfielder already has one eye on 2015-16...
You spent the 2013-14 season on loan at Swindon, came back last summer and did well in pre-season. How important was that?
Ryan: "We had a new gaffer and everyone came in with a clean slate. It was down to how you performed in pre-season and I felt I came back in good shape and did well throughout pre-season. I then picked a niggle just before the Schalke friendly and it was frustrating because in my head I was ready to get some game time, so for that to happen wasn’t ideal. But the gaffer told me not to worry, stuck with me, told me to get fit and that I was going to feature. That really helped my confidence and gave me a huge lift."
Below: Where it all started - Ryan's cracker against Forest
The defining moment arrived against Forest in the Capital One Cup in September, when you came off the bench and scored a fantastic goal. Three days later, you were in the starting line-up for your Premier League debut at Arsenal.
Ryan: "I’m a big believer that everything happens for a reason and the time was right for me. I came on against Forest and it was meant to happen. It was a great feeling and I kicked on from there. Perhaps a few eyebrows were raised when the gaffer stuck me in against Arsenal, obviously such a massive game. For my point of view, after the faith he showed in me, it was important to play well and repay that faith. If I hadn’t done well, that might have backfired. It was great that he gave a young, home-grown player the chance in such a big game."
Below: Celebrations on the final whistle after beating Arsenal in February
You went on to play 37 times in all competitions...
Ryan: "It’s the most games I’ve ever played in a season and I’m learning all time on and off the pitch, how to look after my body as I get older and that showed with how consistently I played and was always available for selection."
You came through our Academy and you are a Spurs man through and through, but did you ever feel it wasn't going to happen here?
Ryan: "I had opportunities to leave the club but never wanted to because I always thought, imagined and dreamed I’d play for Spurs at White Hart Lane. I never felt that I’d want to leave and actually go through with it. There were times when I thought it might not happen, of course, but there was always something in the back of my head telling me that I would walk out at White Hart Lane one day."
Below: Ryan's stats
How did it feel to be one of a number of home-grown players to progress into the first team this season? Five of you started in the Capital One Cup Final...
Ryan: "Everyone can feel it around the place. It’s given everyone a boost, especially the lads in the 18s, the 21s, they can see a path into the first team now and that’s important. For us, to be playing in the Premier League with mates we all grew up with is a dream come true."
You made your England debut and played alongside Harry Kane, Andros Townsend and Kyle Walker in Italy. Do you have to pinch yourself when you look back at the season?
Ryan: "It’s bizarre when you look at the road I’ve travelled. I was playing in League One last season and struggling with injury, never got a consistent run. So to look at this season, it’s been incredible. At the same time, a lot of hard work has gone into it. I’ve put in a lot of work to be ready once the opportunity came around, to make sure I took it."
Below: Ryan featured in our matchday programme last season
The season has only just finished, but what are your thoughts on next season?
Ryan: "I want to keep improving, my body feels good and I’ll look to get back in early for pre-season. It’s important to have a rest but I won’t take too long off physically. We all know what it means to play for the club and we’re all eager to get the best out of ourselves as individuals and as a team."
And finally, what has life been like off the pitch now your face is recognised everywhere?
Ryan: "Nothing has changed, I’m not the sort of lad who goes out drinking, I live a quiet life with my girlfriend, family and friends. People recognise me more now but it’s only been a positive experience."