Tottenham Hotspur’s Ryan Mason has defended his striker Richarlison, after the Brazilian was criticised by Michail Antonio and Callum Wilson on their podcast.
Richarlison signed for Tottenham for a reported £60 million last summer (Sky Sports) but has found his debut season with the Lilywhites a difficult one.
Injuries have been an issue, and Richarlison has often found himself left out of the starting lineup, having to feed off substitute appearances for much of the campaign.
The 26-year-old has scored just three goals for Tottenham this term, with only one of those coming in the Premier League (Transfermarkt).
Richarlison has seen a handful of goals ruled out for offside throughout the season. Unfortunately, in his excitement at putting the ball in the back of the net, the Brazilian has taken off his shirt and been booked for his troubles.
Newcastle forward Callum Wilson and West Ham star Antonio poked fun at Richarlison for this fact on The Footballer’s Football Podcast. Now, Mason has hit back at the pair.
He told Football.London: “I certainly don’t feel like I’m ever in a position to criticise another head coach or another manager on the work they’re doing or the job they’re doing at their football club.
“Richy I don’t think he’s thinking about other players, to be honest, I think it is his own pride and his own determination that will probably drive that most of all. In terms of Richy, I don’t know.
“Maybe he’s heard it, maybe seen it? Maybe. Maybe it might give him a little bit more. I’m not sure. I’m really not sure about that.”
Mason went on to say: “I guess as a coach I wouldn’t do it, and as a player, I’ve never done it as well. I don’t really like that type of thing. We’re all trying to do our best. We’re all professionals. We’re working hard.
“We dedicate our lives to get to this level and to compete at this level. So I don’t really like that type of thing personally.
“From a player’s point of view, I’ve been signed for a club as a record signing. So I know the feeling that you want to give back. One thing I will say about Richy is he has always come in and he’s added energy to try to you know, he’s a fighter.”
On Richarlison’s season in general, Mason added: “He works hard, he trains hard and I’ve never seen someone that’s shirked responsibility.
“Of course, we would’ve wanted more goals and he would’ve wanted more goals from himself, but that’s not happened. Hopefully, now he can influence the last two games and score goals to help us.
“I think I can probably speak quite openly in terms of the goal return that he’d probably be disappointed with that.
“He’s never really had any rhythm whatsoever. He has had quite a few injuries this year and has picked up a few on international duty. I’ve always felt like he’s been chasing his fitness.
“There were moments early on in the season where he got a few disallowed goals, a few moments where he hit the post and maybe if those would have gone in then it would have created a bit of momentum…
“I’m sure come pre-season, he’ll come back full of energy to really show us what it’s really all about.”
Spurs Web Opinion
I really do feel for Richarlison this season. He’s had injuries, he was sidelined a lot rather unfairly by Conte, and he’s been very unlucky with the goals that were ruled out. I have absolute faith that he will have a strong season next year.