Dane Scarlett is the Tottenham ‘diamond’ matching records set by Kylian Mbappe and shouldering comparisons with Marcus Rashford… but the high praise from Jose Mourinho is justified, and something the 16-year-old will take in his stride
- Dane Scarlett is one of two prodigies at Tottenham that has everyone talking
- The striker created his first goal in the Europa League at just 16 on Wednesday
- His manager Jose Mourinho could not help but praise the youngster on camera
Jose Mourinho was clearly reluctant, trying his very best to pick his words carefully.
But, such is the excitement Dane Scarlett is creating, he could not help himself.
‘I don’t want to speak too much because tomorrow I arrive in the building and the kid’s boss is going to kill me!’ Mourinho said after Scarlett’s cameo in Tottenham’s Europa League win over Wolfsberger on Wednesday.
‘I just want to say that he will be 17 next month and I want him to be part of the first team squad next season.
Dane Scarlett is one of the hottest prospects at Tottenham, having made his debut at just 16
‘Next season he has to be a first-team player. Immense talent. Very good physical development.
‘I hope that nothing is going to destroy that potential. He must have feet on the ground and head on his shoulders because he has a fantastic talent.’
Speaking to BT Sport, the Portuguese’s sentiment was much the same. ‘He is a diamond, a kid with incredible potential. He has worked many times with the first team and that gives him a different personality.’
Spurs believe they have two special 16-year-olds coming through their ranks in midfielder Alfie Devine and striker Scarlett.
Their first appearances under Mourinho made both Spurs’s youngest ever player – Devine replacing Scarlett, who made his debut first in November, as the record holder.
Jose Mourinho praised the young striker following his substitute appearance in the Europa League
Devine is also Spurs’s youngest ever scorer after netting in their FA Cup tie against Marine in January.
It was Scarlett’s turn to make history again on Wednesday, his assist for Carlos Vinicius making him the first 16-year-old since a certain Kylian Mbappe to set up a Europa League goal.
There was also a comparison to Marcus Rashford from Mourinho.
Being mentioned in such company might be a lot for many young footballers to get their heads around, especially one so young he has only recently left school and, effectively, just starting out on what he hopes will be a long and successful career.
But there is a well-placed confidence that Scarlett can cope. Scarlett comes from a grounded family, a big influence in him not being one for getting carried away.
The growing interest is expected to be something the youngster will simply take in his stride, with Spurs also doing their bit to ensure all of their young players remain level-headed.
Being involved in the first team at his age is considered a bonus by the currently overachieving Scarlett and he accepts that, despite his fast-tracking and Mourinho’s high praise, he could easily be returning back to Spurs’s Under 18s or U23s for a period.
Scarlett created a bit of history by assisting Carlos Vinicius in the second half of the clash
Dropping down will be no problem either – Scarlett is not the type to all of a sudden consider it beneath him.
Scarlett joined the north Londoners aged eight, with coach Michael Donaldson an especially key figure in his earlier years and the Hillingdon-born youngster also developing under highly-rated, ex-Spurs and now England under-17 head coach Justin Cochrane with club and country.
While Mourinho has drip fed striker Scarlett first-team minutes in a wide role, contributing to the Rashford comparison, it is his penalty box prowess that would have caught the Spurs manager’s eye.
Scarlett is an old-fashioned, throwback of a forward with little interest in nutmegs and step-overs. Instead he just loves playing and putting the ball in the net, however it goes in.
Mourinho has compared the Spurs youngster to Marcus Rashford, who he coached at United
When he scored five in the FA Youth Cup against Newport in January, Scarlett was more concerned about the three chances he missed before his goal glut began.
Scarlett, one of 10 academy prospects Mourinho has used at Spurs, has 20 goals and four assists in 16 games at U18 and 23 levels this season.
‘He’s got a real desire on the pitch,’ one source said. ‘He knows how to look after himself and is hungry.
‘He doesn’t get intimidated by anything and he has that type of personality on the pitch where he would knock his own grandma out the way to get to where he wants to be.’
The 16-year-old is grounded, and has been backed to take the focus on him in his stride
Off it Scarlett is described as quiet character who speaks up when he needs to and is sure enough of himself and where he is heading that he does not need to follow the crowd.
It may mark him out as a little different at times within a dressing room and squad environment but it’s an approach that has served him well so far and will surely continue to do so as his career develops.
When assessing which youngsters had the required qualities to earn an early inclusion in his plans Mourinho would no doubt have noted Scarlett’s professionalism and dedication during his rehab after the then 15-year-old suffered a season-ending knee injury in a November 2019 U18 game at Chelsea.
While there may have been some concern about the potential lasting impact such a serious blow could have on his career Scarlett faced the setback head on to return fitter, stronger, faster and better. And into Mourinho’s thinking since the start of the season as a result.
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