Pochettino: People called me 'crazy' for starting Ryan Mason against Arsenal

Nathan Baker and Ryan Mason

Mauricio Pochettino has recalled the moment when he started Ryan Mason against Arsenal.

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has told The Guardian that people called him 'crazy' for starting Ryan Mason against Arsenal back in September.

Pochettino has enjoyed a fine debut season at White Hart Lane, and despite looking like missing out on a top four place, fans are happy with what the Argentine has done this term.

The biggest positive of Pochettino's reign so far has been the development of young players, with Nabil Bentaleb, Ryan Mason and, of course, Harry Kane all playing key roles in the team this season.

Having overseen the emergence of Calum Chambers, Luke Shaw and James Ward-Prowse at Southampton last season, Pochettino is earning a reputation as one of the best managers when it comes to young players.

In earning that tag though, Pochettino has had to take some risks, and none of his risks this season have been bigger than starting midfielder Mason against Arsenal.

The 22-year-old had never even played a Premier League match before that night, but Pochettino was confident that he could make an impact against Tottenham's bitter North London rivals back in September.

Mason played well and has gone from strength to strength ever since, making his England debut at the end of last month - and whilst many credit previous boss Tim Sherwood with the development of Tottenham's youngsters, Pochettino told The Guardian that it was he who handed Mason his Premier League debut; and noted that people weren't too impressed at first.

"Who gave Ryan Mason his Premier League debut against Arsenal? Who?" asked Pochettino. "I remember when people said I was crazy for playing Mason against Arsenal," he added.

Mason may not grab the headlines like team-mate Kane does, but for a player who wasn't even given a chance at Tottenham before this season, it's been a fantastic debut campaign - and he is playing under the perfect manager to carry on improving.

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