(Reuters) - Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino said the door will always be open for Ryan Mason to take up a role at the club after the 26-year-old was forced to retire from the game.
Spurs’ former midfielder Mason, who joined Hull City in 2016, suffered a fractured skull after a clash of heads with Chelsea’s Gary Cahill in January last year and failed to recover sufficiently enough to return to the pitch.
Pochettino indicated that Mason, who made 70 appearances under the Argentine after rising through the ranks at Tottenham, could return to Spurs in some capacity and would be a success at whatever he decides.
“It is very sad news but he opens a door for his future with his family,” Pochettino told reporters.
“Ryan has been at the training ground in recent days. We have been talking to him with (head of academy) John McDermott.
“He will be successful in whatever he does. He will always be a special player for me. Don’t worry Ryan because you are going to be a successful person in football outside of the pitch, no doubt about that.”
Cahill said he was heartbroken after learning Mason had been forced to retire.
“Devastated to hear today’s news from Ryan,” Cahill wrote on Twitter.
“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.
“Sending all my love to him and his family, and wishing him the best for the future.”
Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech, who himself suffered a skull fracture while playing for Chelsea in 2006, praised Mason for the way he dealt with his rehabilitation.
“Yesterday was a sad day for one incredible young man @RyanMason,” Cech wrote on Twitter.
“Although his story didn’t finish with ultimate happy ending, his determination, attitude and bravery he’s shown during his recovery is something to be admired and an inspiration for others! All the best Ryan.”
Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge