Ryan Mason has no complaints after falling behind Tottenham’s ‘outstanding’ midfield duo

Ryan Mason says he has no complaints about being restricted to substitute appearances and understands why he has only played a bit-part role in the decisive weeks of Tottenham’s Premier League title challenge.

The 24-year-old’s last start came against Borussia Dortmund on March 17, when Spurs exited the Europa League, with Mauricio Pochettino sticking with his favoured central midfield pairing of Mousa Dembele and Eric Dier in the subsequent six top-flight fixtures.

Mason has appeared off the bench in each of those matches, though. And, with Dembele now facing suspension after being charged with an alleged act of violent conduct – having appeared to push a finger into Chelsea striker Diego Costa’s eye at Stamford Bridge on Monday – the England international could return to the starting line-up against Southampton on Sunday.

“Obviously I’ve had some injuries and it’s kept me out of the team for quite a long time and it’s always difficult to have long spells on the sidelines and then try to get back into the team,” he said.

“But I’m happy the team’s doing well – that’s the most important thing – and the players in my position have been outstanding this season so I’ve got no arguments about that.”

Mason came on in the 65th minute during Spurs’ bad-tempered 2-2 draw with Chelsea on Monday and, as well as seeing a low shot saved by Asmir Begovic shortly before Eden Hazard’s equaliser, he was one of nine Tottenham players to be booked.

“It was a proper London derby and I think the fans can appreciate how much effort we put in for this club,” said the Spurs midfielder. “We were together out there, we wanted to win and I think that translated onto the pitch and the fans probably felt it.

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“It was a ferocious game and I thought the referee did well at times. A draw was probably a fair result in the end. We probably should have killed the game off a little bit better but they came back at us and it’s disappointing - but this season’s been a success and hopefully we can kick on again.

“We’re a proud team and there’s no chance we’re going to let up. We’re looking forward to our last game at home [against Southampton] and hopefully we can get a positive result and finish off the season well.”

Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs