Why Ryan Mason Is the Forgotten Tottenham Player Who Will Explode in 2015/16

Sam Rooke@@SamRooke89Featured ColumnistJuly 11, 2015

BURNLEY, ENGLAND - APRIL 05:  Ryan Mason of Spurs tackles George Boyd of Burnley during the Barclays Premier League match between Burnley and Tottenham Hotspur at Turf Moor on April 5, 2015 in Burnley, England.  (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)
Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Tottenham are in the midst of a summer renovation. 

Rumours of major clear-outs are virtually constant companions of Spurs sides. This year, though, there appears to be some substance. 

Selling Paulinho and Etienne Capoue was the first stepclearing out space so the real work can begin. Benjamin Stambouli is also reportedly close to an exit, per the Watford Observer.

Spurs have been linked to a great many central midfielders in recent months. 

Geoffrey Kondogbia went to Inter, Giannelli Imbula chose Porto and Morgan Schneiderlin seems bound for Manchester United. Even Fabian Delph is either going to Man City or staying at Aston Villa

Despite the intense good will surrounding the club recently, with the exciting stadium developments and signing of Toby Alderweireld, they have missed out on their key transfer targets. 

Ryan Mason was expected to be the casualty of a big-name midfield signing. 

Nabil Bentaleb is one of the most talented young central midfielders in Europe. Suffice it to say, his place in the starting XI is secure. 

Despite the fact that the Mason-Bentaleb tandem was at the heart of many of Tottenham's best performances last season, many believe it is crucial that the club upgrade in this area ahead of the new campaign. 

Mason was a bolt out of the blue to most observers last season. His sensational goal against Nottingham Forest in the League Cup was his ticket into the team, but he quickly proved himself to be more than just a passenger. 

His energy was infectious and vital to Pochettino's burgeoning pressing game. He understood how to aggressively shut down passing lanes without shooting out of position too often. 

Willing to fire the ball up the pitch, Mason's passing statistics are less than exceptional. That is partly due to his attacking style. His partner, Bentaleb, is the expert at retaining possession. The pair complement each other. 

Mason's boundless energy, on show whenever Spurs don't have the ball, is also hugely valuable in attack. 

He breaks forward quickly and often finds himself in dangerous areas. 

Though he scored only one goal last season, he would have easily collected five or six with a little more luck. 

From Mason's first appearance in the league, away at Arsenal, Pochettino trusted him constantly. 

The fact that Spurs have sold two (almost three) of their midfielders without signing any replacements proves that trust remains. 

Mason is now Spurs' third-most experienced central midfielder and is obviously preferred to Mousa Dembele. Dele Alli will certainly compete for time against Mason, but he remains utterly unproven. 

Even if Spurs are able to bring in a midfielder who is ready to compete to take Mason's place, he has every advantage and will almost certainly start at Old Trafford on the opening day. 

However, he must improve. 

A full pre-season under Pochettino will be vital to growth in terms of Mason's positioning and his general understanding of his role in the system. 

BURTON-UPON-TRENT, ENGLAND - MARCH 24:  Ryan Mason of England looks on during an England training session at St Georges Park on March 24, 2015 in Burton-upon-Trent, England.  (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

He missed part of last year's due to injury and was by no means a senior member of the team. This summer, he is surely already benefiting from being one of the key members of the squad and is most assuredly blossoming as a player. 

Mason was one of the stars for Tottenham last season. 

In his first year in the Premier League, he won his place in the team ahead of far more highly regarded players, some of who have now left the club. 

He helped Bentaleb, Kane and Christian Eriksen to all shine and although he did not get the praise he was sometimes deserving of, an England call-up was just recognition. 

Mason's reputation has slipped for several reasons, most notably the introspective boredom that accompanies a World Cup-free summer, but there is no doubting that he is good enough to play alongside Spurs' stars. 

He has been forgotten somewhat since the end of the season, but he is sure to continue to flourish in the next one. 

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