Cape Town - Mauricio Pochettino wants to help Ryan Mason by offering the former Tottenham midfielder a role at the club.
The talented Hull City man, with one England cap to his name, suffered a head injury against Chelsea back in January 2017.
Despite working hard to regain full fitness, Mason was advised to
call time on his career, amid further concerns over his health if he
were to continue playing.
Speaking very highly of the him, Pochettino explained his admiration for Mason by recalling how he met the player.
The Spurs boss said: "I remember very well how we found him the first
day; sitting in the gym, head down and so sad. 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
"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
"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."
Meanwhile Gary Cahill said he was "devastated" after Ryan Mason retired after
failing to recover from a fractured skull caused by their clash of
"Devastated to hear today's news from Ryan," tweeted Cahill.
"Competing for a corner is something we've done thousands of times and
to see those consequences for a top professional like Ryan is
heartbreaking," the England centre-back added.
"Sending all my love to him and his family, and wishing him all the best for the future".