Why has Ryan Mason only just been given a chance at Spurs?

Tottenham WHL

The belated emergence of Ryan Mason hints at Tottenham's failure to get the most out of their talented youngsters.

It is early days yet, but Ryan Mason showed glimpses against Arsenal of being the kind of player Tottenham have missed for the last few seasons.

His ability to get amongst the opposition midfield, as well as possessing the close control and passing ability to bring the ball forward and begin Spurs attacks caught the eye against one of the best teams in the league.

Now it is very possible that Mason has come on leaps and bounds over the last year to have earned the chance to start a Premier League game under new boss Mauricio Pochettino, compared to last summer when he was deemed only good enough for League One.

But considering that Mason was given minutes in the Europa League as a 17-year-old, it is clear he has been one of the club's top prospects for some time.

So why is the 23-year-old player only just making his debut for Spurs?

Well, he has had his fair share of injury problems in the past, often disrupting his loan spells. For Swindon last year, Mason played some of the best football of his career in a more attacking position than he operated in against Arsenal, and managed five goals in 18 games, including one hat trick. That run in the Robins team was cut short by niggling injuries.

This year, Mason has been fit over the summer and into the new season, long enough to impress Pochettino and get some minutes in friendly games and now competitive fixtures.

Tim Sherwood was known to be an admirer of the midfielder, and would also likely have incorporated him into his squad were he still at White Hart Lane. But too often, managerial changes may have affected his route forward in the Spurs team. Andre Villas-Boas used him sparingly in his first season at the club, but it is inevitably harder for players to make their mark at  their club when any impression they make on the man in charge can be pointless due to there being changes every season.

Tottenham have invested heavily in players all over the team in recent years, but some of the best players in the last 10-15 years of English football have emerged under managers that were at their club for long enough to know it, and its young prospects from back to front. That the likes of Mason and Bentaleb continue to make appearances ahead of signings that cost millions of pounds show that the club's recruitment strategy has been flawed for some time. 

It also perhaps suggest that the club’s continued policy of dismissing managers erodes any chance for young players to make an impression during their time at the club.

Mason has somehow managed to keep there or thereabouts despite the many Tottenham changes, but were he to genuinely come good this season, Daniel Levy and co would have to seriously question why they took so long to get the best out of a player who showed such promise at a young age, and all along hinted at being the kind of player they have been crying out for.

And if he was to come close, but not quite good enough for the level Spurs strive to be at, well that is even more of a missed opportunity.

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