As the door closes on the tumultuous Jose Mourinho era at Tottenham Hotspur., another one opens with former midfielder Ryan Mason set to take the helm as caretaker boss.
The Special One was sensationally sacked on Monday morning following 17 months in charge and despite having the small matter of playing in the Carabao Cup final at the weekend.
Mason, 29, who had to retire from his playing career early due to a serious head injury will be assisted by Chris Powell and the academy duo could give Spurs a new and fresh look as they look to turn things around in north London.
He had been in charge of Spurs’ U19 squad and was promoted to Head of Player Development from U17s to U23s only last year but what will Spurs now look like under their youthful former star?
Here’s what we think…
It won’t be an easy task at hand for Mason given we’ve just started a crucial week that culminates in the potential of winning silverware but we know from his U19s squad that he favours a similar 4-2-3-1 system.
That’s hardly a surprise as he featured in such a formation under Mauricio Pochettino, and he’s surely going to take inspiration from the rise under him, more so than the turmoil of the last six months under Mourinho.
Some of the stalwarts of the Portuguese’s side are likely to remain – Hugo Lloris, club captain and no.1 between the sticks; summer signings Sergio Reguilon and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg; of course Harry Kane and Heung-min Son.
But we may even see major comebacks for a trio of forgotten Spurs stars.
Mason played with both Dele Alli and Harry Winks during his time in north London and both could feature in his starting XI as early as Wednesday when Spurs play Southampton in the Premier League.
Alli has been limited to just two starts and 232 minutes in the English top-flight. It was only in 2016/17 that he clinched his second Young PFA Player of the Year award and bagged 16 goals from midfield.
He could be preferred to both Giovani Lo Celso and Tanguy Ndombele in an advanced role.
As could Winks, who may come in to partner Hojbjerg at the base of the engine room. He started Spurs’ opening three matches of the season but has been restricted to only 398 league minutes since.
Mason may see a similarity between the duo of Winks and Hojbjerg to him and Mousa Dembele of yesteryear.
And finally, with Spurs desperately in need to score more goals and lessen the reliance on Kane and Son, so Gareth Bale may be in line for a recall to the starting fold.
Following the north London derby defeat, the Welsh superstar was seemingly an easy scapegoat as he’s played a total of ten minutes from the bench ever since.
He’s a player that Daniel Levy pushed to sign rather than Mourinho himself, so there were certainly no loyalties to be had. He, Son and Kane is the front three many are dreaming to see in full swing.
At the back is where Spurs’ Achilles heel has been, with defensive and individual mistakes the defining theme of Mourinho’s recent reign. Mason could turn to the experience of Toby Aldweireld, whilst performances from Joe Rodon will have surely caught his youth-spotting eye.
It’s also a chance to see the calamitous duo of Davinson Sanchez and Serge Aurier axed entirely. Both have been dubbed a “liability” in their own right, and have no place in starting when they are frequently at fault. Japhet Tanganga could well start at right-back, having worked with the new caretaker before.
Eric Dier may well be a casualty, too.
AND in other news, Forget Nagelsmann: Levy should appoint “incredibly good” 40 y/o as next boss …