Tottenham caretaker manager Ryan Mason vowed to make the most of a “crazy” situation after the 29-year-old was put in charge until the end of the season following Jose Mourinho’s sacking.
Mourinho was dismissed on Monday following a disappointing run of form that has left Spurs struggling to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
Former Spurs and Hull midfielder Mason, who was forced to retire from playing in 2018, steps up from his role as head of player development at the club.
Chris Powell and Nigel Gibbs will help him, while Ledley King stays on as a first-team coach and former goalkeeper Michel Vorm returns to the club as a goalkeeping coach.
Mason’s first game in charge is a Premier League match with Southampton on Wednesday, while he will also lead his boyhood club out at Wembley on Sunday in the League Cup final against Manchester City.
Mason had to hang up his boots after suffering a fractured skull, an injury which almost killed him, while playing for Hull.
At an age when he expected to be at the peak of his playing career, Mason will attempt to make up for his lack of managerial experience by transferring his passion for Tottenham to his players.
“I think it’s no secret that I love this football club,” he said. “To spend 20 years of my 29 years involved with this football club, it’s in my heart, it’s in my blood, of course it is.
“I’ve always felt a massive connection with the fans of the club. I’ve always had a great connection with anyone who works in the club. And that’s important. I’ve always felt loved.
“One thing I can guarantee is that I’ll give my all in the next seven games to prepare players to win football matches. The pride I feel is amazing.”
Not 30 until June, Mason will walk out at Wembley on Sunday as the figurehead of a club he first joined when he was eight years old.
As if that wasn’t enough to make Mason pinch himself, he has to try to outwit City boss Pep Guardiola in just his second match — a development even he is bewildered by.
“I thought I’d still be playing football, I’m probably in my prime to be honest of footballing ability. But football is a crazy, crazy sport,” he said.
“It’s bizarre. I experienced so much as a player, I had to deal with so much, having the serious injury, fighting for my life, coming back, having to retire, coming back to this great football club and representing them as a coach and learning – it’s crazy.
“The fact I am representing this football club and the fact I get the opportunity to walk us out at our beautiful stadium is a great honour.”