In what came as devastating news for the entire football fraternity, Hull City midfielder Ryan Mason has been forced to retire from football on medical advice following the head injury he suffered during the club’s Premier League clash at Chelsea in January 2017.
The 26-year-old sustained a fractured skull in a clash of heads with Chelsea skipper Gary Cahill while defending a corner during his team’s defeat and subsequently received treatment for around nine minutes on the Stamford Bridge pitch.
He underwent a surgery in London and was released eight days later but has since struggled with his recovery, conceding he would be putting his life at risk by playing on. Hearing the sad news, Mauricio Pochettino has paid tribute to Mason, opening the door for the player to take up a role at Tottenham Hotspur.
Mason came through the Spurs academy and made 53 Premier League appearances under Pochettino before signing for Hull in 2016.
“I remember very well how we found him the first day; sitting in the gym, head down and so sad,” Pochettino told Sky Sports after his side’s thrilling 2-2 draw with Juventus in the first leg of Champions League’ round of 16 on Tuesday.
“I asked Jesus [Perez] ‘who is this guy?’ And he said ‘Ryan Mason, who in the last five seasons has always been on loan and never played because he suffered a lot of injuries’.
“It was difficult for him in the beginning because he struggled to cope with the training sessions, because it was very tough. But then we travelled to the USA and I met him in the airport and, during 30 minutes, we shared, and I said after to Jesus ‘wow, I love Ryan’. I didn’t know if he played well or not but I loved him like a man.
“Then, in the first game we played against Seattle, he understood everything. After only a few tactical training sessions he was quick and he understood everything – the movement and the timing and the concept – that maybe for another player it takes a whole season, and I said ‘we have in front of us a very good player’.
“Always he is and will be a special player for me because he represent a little bit this change in all the processes when we arrived at Tottenham.
“Sure he was a very successful player, and sure he will be a very successful person in football, and everything that he is going to do. It is very sad news but it opens up a massive future (for him). He is 26 but he is an amazing person and has an amazing football brain.
“Of course the door is open to help him; myself, the coaching staff and the club, because we love him and all his family. In the last few days he was at the training ground. He was talking a lot with us, the coaching staff and (academy boss) John McDermott.
“Don’t worry Ryan because you are going to be a successful person in football outside of the pitch, no doubt about that.”
It is indeed a touch of class from Poch to open the door for one of our academy products who has had to end his career in a brutal manner. We wish you all the best Ryan Mason for your future and hope to see you get attached to our club sooner than later.