Is Ryan Mason now just a back-up after returning from injury?

The Tottenham Hotspur midfielder was first choice before picking up an injury against Sunderland.

According to the London Evening Standard, Ryan Mason could be set to return from injury for Tottenham against Liverpool this weekend.

And, if the 24-year-old isn't fit for that clash, he will almost certainly make the north London side's next Premier League game.

But, after several weeks out, will Mason be unlucky enough to be considered just a back-up when he returns?

Indeed, while Mason was Tottenham's driving force against Sunderland, Dele Alli and Eric Dier have formed a brilliant midfield partnership in his absence, while the likes of Christian Eriksen, Erik Lamela, Heung-Min Son (also not fully fit yet) and others have been strong creative forces further forward.

The 4-1 win against Manchester City, especially, showed just what Spurs can do with their current crop. Unfortunately for Mason, that was all achieved without him.

So could boss Mauricio Pochettino take the approach that a winning team shouldn't be changed? Dier and Alli have been phenomenal and replacing either with Mason (it would more likely be Alli) would probably be more out of loyalty to the 24-year-old than being based on current form.

Of course, Pochettino could pair Mason with Dier and move Alli further forward - but then who misses out in the advanced positions?

It's a tricky situation for the Tottenham boss. As always, it's a good selection dilemma to have. Mason, though, could be the man to miss out in the coming weeks after the Liverpool game.

Who should Pochettino's first-choice pairing be?
Ryan Mason & Eric Dier
Dele Alli & Eric Dier
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