It’s Ryan of the Rovers

Happy Rover: Ryan Mason has been linked to a return to the Keepmoat next season.     Picture: Steve Taylor
Happy Rover: Ryan Mason has been linked to a return to the Keepmoat next season. Picture: Steve Taylor
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RYAN Mason left the Keepmoat Stadium after Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Leicester City with two bottles under his arm after winning the sponsors man-of-the-match award.

It is not known what he did with the bubbly, if anything, that evening - though the fact Rovers had won their battle against relegation with the point picked up against the Foxes was certainly cause for celebration amongst players and supporters alike.

It speaks volumes for both the Spurs’ teenager, and the way that loan players are quickly made to feel part of the Rovers ‘family’, that Mason was pleased as anyone at the club that Rovers had retained their Championship status,

“It would have been nice to top it off with a win, but we are over the line now,” said the 19 year-old attacking midfielder.

“It’s a massive relief that we are safe. I think we should have done it a bit earlier but we are there now. We’ve had a lot of injuries and that killed us a little bit, but hopefully the club won’t have as many injuries next season and we can push on.”

Mason admitted that things didn’t go as well as hoped in the first half-hour or so.

“Leicester have a very good side and got on top early on and we were pleased to come in at half-time at 0-0,” he said.

“Brooks (Steve Brooker) then popped up with a great finish to give us the lead.

“We restricted them to very few chances in the second half and it was only the goal that was a mistake which allowed them to snatch a draw.”

Mason is hoping that he did enough in the Leicester game to retain his place in the starting line-up in the last game of the season at Middlesbrough on Saturday.

He is keen to play as much as possible after missing over four months of the season with a back injury, which resulted in him returning to White Hart Lane for treatment and rehabilitation.

“It was a massive setback and missing such a long period of the season was horrible,” said Mason. “But hopefully it is behind me and, touch wood, hopefully I can stay fit.

“I’ve learnt a lot during my time at the club this season. There are a lot of good characters here and hopefully one day I can be one of those characters helping out.

“I’ve really enjoyed my time at the club. It’s been a great experience and another step up from last year at Yeovil and hopefully I can keep learning.”

There has been media speculation that Rovers would be interested in signing the England Under-19 star were he to become available, or at least look to bring him back on another long-term loan deal next season.

“I can’t comment on anything at the moment,” said Mason. “I’m still a Tottenham player and we’ll have to see what happens.”

Mason, who has an old head on young shoulders, accepts that his chances of breaking into the Spurs’ team next season probably aren’t very high given the quality of the squad.

“I probably need to establish myself as a Championship player next season,” he said. “Hopefully get a few more starts and see what happens from there.

“It is certainly far more beneficial to my career to be playing Championship football rather than playing for Spurs Reserves. There are a lot of good teams, a lot of good players and it’s a very tough league.”

Rovers No 2 Richard O’Kelly and goalkeeping coach Lee Butler will link-up with exboss Dave Penney and ex-players such as Tim Ryan, Francis Tierney, Bruce Dyer and Leo Fortune-West in tonight’s Celebrity All Stars v Doncaster Teachers charity game at the Keepmoat (6.30pm).