Few coaches have balls like Pochettino - Mason

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The former midfielder praised the Tottenham Hotspur coach for improving him as a human being and said players would do anything for him

Ryan Mason has praised Mauricio Pochettino for his courage in developing young players and credited the Argentine with changing the former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder's attitude towards life.

Mason was forced to retire from the game at the age of 26 in February after spending over a year out of the game with a fractured skull. 

The one-time England international came through Spurs' youth system and had a series of loan spells at lower league clubs before Pochettino brought him into the senior squad in 2014, going on to make 70 appearances before joining Hull City.

And Mason says the 46-year-old had an incredible impact on him as a human and a player, helping him get over the devastation that followed his injury.

"You love playing for him, you'd run through a brick wall for him because he's a lovely man and a lovely human being," Mason told Soccer AM.

"Don't get me wrong I would never, ever cross him because his morals and values are so strong that if you went away from that it would be hard for him to forget it. But at the same time if you work hard, do what he says right and enjoy your football then he is unbelievable.

"Probably the biggest thing that I can say about him is that he didn't just improve me as a player, he improved me as a human being. He just changed my view on life through his values - he's a big family man, he loves creating friendship and values loyalty.

"Also when I say he changed my way of life, that way of stressing your brain I believe helped me recover from my injury because, rather than feeling sorry for myself, that experience of being strong mentally with him helped me to change my outlook."

And the former Hull star believes there are few coaches who can improve players the way Pochettino has been able to in England in recent years, stating he has changed the way Tottenham handle youngsters.

"You could see how he develops players from day one. I was playing for Swindon in League One six months before he came in but he didn't care about that, he said to me 'you're a Premier League player, if you get fit and train hard you'll play for me'," he added.

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"There aren't many managers around in the Premier League or even league football that would be able to see potential like that and then have the balls to develop it and be patient. If you look at the players he's brought through at Tottenham - they've got a great youth set-up with John McDermott - but to actually trust players in the Premier League is amazing.

"He knows everyone's name at the club. From the women in the canteen to the groundsmen, he knows everyone and it just helps to create a good atmosphere. When I was in the youth team, I didn't really see a path into the first team initially because there were managers who didn't really want to promote youth, they'd rather go out and buy someone.

"At one point, we had a squad of 26, 27 players and probably 20-odd were internationals and for a youth-team player it was like 'how am I going to get into that?' Whereas if you look at the first team now you could see a path into the first team for a 17 or 18-year-old."