Sunday 28 September 2014 23:04, UK
Ryan Mason admits he had offers to leave Tottenham, but is so glad he stayed after being handed a Premier League debut.
A product of the Spurs academy, the midfielder made his debut for the club as a late substitute in the UEFA Cup when they won 1-0 at NEC Nijmegen in November 2008.
Remarkably, it took nigh on six years - and loan spells at five different clubs - before finally making his first league appearance for the club, which even more astonishingly came for the 23-year-old as a starter in Saturday's north London derby at Arsenal.
The 1-1 draw capped a whirlwind week for Mason, which began with playing for the Under-21s at Sunderland and ended at the Emirates Stadium, via a match-changing wonder goal as Nottingham Forest were edged out of the Capital One Cup 3-1 at White Hart Lane in midweek.
"It's been a massive week for me with three games in five days," he said.
"I played for the reserves on Monday, then against Nottingham Forest in the Capital One Cup on Wednesday and here."
That Forest match was just his fifth Spurs appearance and a first opportunity to feature under Mauricio Pochettino - one which would no doubt have come sooner had it not been for injury curtailing an impressive pre-season.
Mason thought 'oh, here we go again' at that point, but was also confident chances would be forthcoming under the former Argentina international after seeing him in action at Southampton.
"I thought his appointment was promising," he said. "He's the type of gaffer that if you're training well and playing well then you'll get a chance to play.
"That's important, especially for me as a homegrown lad.
"There are not many managers in the Premier League willing to put homegrown players in and trust them."
That is certainly a marked change from previous regimes, when desire and self-belief was the only thing keeping Mason at Tottenham.
"Obviously there have been times when I have questioned whether I would have to move away," he said.
"I've had a few opportunities to leave, but I wanted to play for Spurs so bad that I never really wanted to think about leaving.
"I wanted to stay and give it a go and see what happened. Like I said, the change in manager helped me.
No, no, no... maybe because I pick players in different games but any problem with Jan (Vertonghen), this is wrong.
"If previous managers were still in charge, maybe I wouldn't be here."
Pochettino was full of praise for Mason after his impressive Premier League debut on a night which saw Jan Vertonghen start alongside Younes Kaboul.
There has been talk of the Belgian having a strained relationship with the Spurs boss - suggestions which perplexed the former defender.
"No, no, no," Pochettino said. "Maybe because I pick players in different games but any problem with Jan, this is wrong.
"We have a lot of games ahead and need to see and analyse the performance and analyse the situation after the game, maybe tired, maybe some problem, and after you need to manage. We have a strong squad and this is important."