Mauricio Pochettino is rare in that he has “the balls” to trust young players and help them develop.
Pochettino ranks second in terms of managers in Europe’s top five leagues to hand the most minutes to under-23 players since 2008, behind only Claude Puel.
The Tottenham manager has comprised a young and hungry squad in north London, with Fernando Llorente, Jan Vertonghen and Mousa Dembele the only players over the age of 30.
Ryan Mason, who made his Premier League debut for the club under Pochettino in September 2014, credits the Argentinean with “improving” him as “a human being”.
“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 Sky Sports.
“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.
“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’.
“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.”
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