DURBAN – At the age of 29, Tottenham interim boss Ryan Mason became the youngest manager in Premier League history, and did so in style by leading the Lilywhites to a 2-1 Premier League win over Southampton last Wednesday.
Mason’s rise to the Spurs throne has been interesting, especially as he is younger than some of the players in his squad and a product of the Lilywhites youth development system.
A midfielder in his playing days, Mason had a modest professional career though it was far from extraordinary.
After graduating to the Spurs first-team in 2008, he spent the majority of his playing career with his boyhood club.
However, much of it was spent out on loan before he spent the final two years of his career with Hull City before retiring aged 26.
This was after suffering a fractured skull in a freak accident after a clash of heads with former Chelsea defender Gary Cahill.
Mason finally did get his big break with Spurs in the 2014/15 season after Mauricio Pochettino was appointed as its manager .
He went on to become a first-team regular at the club, making 31 appearances that season. He even earned an England cap against Italy in a friendly which would be his only international appearance.
He remained a first-team regular the following season but spent the entirety of the 2016-17 season on the sidelines.
After falling down the pecking order at Spurs, he subsequently moving to Hull.
The fact that Spurs have entrusted Mason with the management role, especially at his age, suggests that there is something that sets him apart from others.
Mason will not be the favourite to land the Spurs job permanently as the club have already been linked with Julian Nagelsmann, Brendan Rodgers and Max Allegri, however, he will have a chance to audition for the job.
A good run of results between now and the end of the season could lead to Spurs warming up to the possibility of hiring him.
If Mason does impress, fans of the Lilywhites will really welcome him as their new boss, especially considering that he is a youth product of the club.
He understands the ins and outs of it, having spent the majority of his life affiliated to it as a youth and senior player, as well as now as a coach.
If Mason can impress, it may be music to the ears of Spurs Chairman Daniel Levy.
Levy is known to be one of the shrewdest negotiators in the game and Mason will not command as high a salary as the other men who are being tipped to become Jose Mourinho’s official successor.
A win over the highly-rated Saints manager Ralph Hasenhüttl in his first official game as a manager at the highest level was a good start to Mason’s managerial career.
He will have another chance to impress tomorrow by leading Spurs to their first piece of silverware since 2008.
Spurs tackle Manchester City in the final of the Carabao Cup at Wembley Stadium.