HAD it not been for a series of unfortunate injuries, Swindon Town manager Mark Cooper believes Ryan Mason would by now be a regular fixture in the Tottenham first-team squad.
Mason, who is expected to resume full training with Town on Monday after missing three weeks of action with a side strain, is on loan at the County Ground until the end of the season.
Highly-rated by Spurs boss Tim Sherwood, the 22-year-old has previously spent time out at Millwall, Doncaster Rovers and Yeovil Town as he gains a footing in the game but Mason has been plagued by bumps, bruises, knocks and sprains along the way.
During his time in Wiltshire, the creative midfielder has had to deal with ankle and thigh issues as well as his most recent problem, all of which have combined to stifle his progress.
Cooper, however, still feels the England age-group international has a big future ahead of him and without his bad luck the Town manager thinks Mason would already be gracing a much bigger stage.
“The kid deserves a period of injury-free time so he can show how good he is on a football pitch instead of worrying about where his next one is coming from,” he said.
“He’s been really unlucky. He’s had his injuries and they’ve stopped him. I think if he hadn’t been injured he’d be playing in Tottenham’s first team now. He’s that good technically,.
“I know Tim rates him really highly and if he hadn’t have had these injuries he could be in their first team. If we can get him ready and right for 15 games we’ve got a hell of a player on our hands.
“He’s still a young lad, he’s got plenty of time and seasons and I’m sure that somewhere along the line he’ll have an injury-free spell where he can really show his amazing talent.
Spurs have allowed Mason to undergo his recovery under the supervision of Swindon physio Paul Godfrey and sports scientist Michael Cooper.
“I would anticipate he’d be back in full training for the start of next week,” said the Town boss.
“What we’re not going to do is make him train on Monday and play on Tuesday. We’ve got to make sure he’s 100 per cent fit, like we have done, and hopefully he can have a spell injury-free.
“Spurs have been more than happy for Paul and Mike to do his rehab and Ryan has been more than happy to do his rehab here.”