Ryan Mason admits he had offers to leave Tottenham Hotspur after struggling to break into the first-team over the years, but is delighted to finally see his patience rewarded by new manager Mauricio Pochettino.
Mason made his Spurs debut as a late substitute in a 1-0 UEFA Cup win over NEC Nijmegen in November 2008, aged 17, but the academy product would have to wait almost six years before his first league appearance for the club, taking in loan spells at five different teams in the meantime.
Coming on the score a stunning equaliser in the 3-1 Capital One Cup victory against Nottingham Forest in midweek, the 23-year-old was then named as a surprise starter for Saturday's north London derby at Arsenal, and he was understandably delighted to have left a positive impression following the 1-1 draw.
‘It's been a massive week for me with three games in five days,’ he told Sky Sports.
‘I played for the reserves on Monday, then against Nottingham Forest in the Capital One Cup on Wednesday and here.’
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The past week was Mason’s first opportunity to impress Pochettino due to an early season injury and, despite his determination to succeed at White Hart Lane, the youngster admits that he might have already left the club had any other manager arrived over the summer.
‘I thought his appointment was promising,’ he said. ‘He's the type of gaffer that if you're training well and playing well then you'll get a chance to play.
‘That's important, especially for me as a homegrown lad.
‘There are not many managers in the Premier League willing to put homegrown players in and trust them.
‘Obviously there have been times when I have questioned whether I would have to move away.
‘I've had a few opportunities to leave, but I wanted to play for Spurs so bad that I never really wanted to think about leaving.
‘I wanted to stay and give it a go and see what happened. Like I said, the change in manager helped me.
‘If previous managers were still in charge, maybe I wouldn't be here.’