In an exclusive interview with Football FanCast, Tottenham Hotspur legend Gary Mabbutt has been left blown away by teenage record-breaker Dane Scarlett’s progress.
The 16-year-old became the youngest-ever player to feature for Spurs after Jose Mourinho brought him on as a second-half substitute in their 4-0 win over Ludogorets in the Europa League last month, surpassing John Bostock’s 11-year record.
Scarlett has been in fine form for the academy set-up this season having scored 13 goals in 10 matches in the U18 Premier League, and his form has earned him a call-up to the U23 squad, where he has scored in his only appearance, which came just two weeks ago, as per Transfermarkt.
On Saturday afternoon, the teen prodigy was omitted from the youth squad entirely, which could signal Mourinho’s intention to play him this evening as they head to Stoke City in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals.
He may not start with Carlos Vinicius and Gareth Bale both pushing for minutes, but he may well feature from the bench should things go to plan against the Championship outfit.
And Mabbutt has been taken aback by his rapid progression…
Speaking to FFC, he said:
“Of course, I mean, 16 years of age and he’s playing in the Spurs first team!
“That must have given him so much confidence and proof to him of what he can achieve.
“He’s been doing fantastically in the U18s, and yes, the manager is prepared to give youngsters a chance if you prove yourself. As I said, it is all about proving yourself and having that desire to be the best.
“It’s [a] competition. It is a constant competition. Every single day of your life as a player, you are proving yourself and that you are worthy of being in the first XI.”
Indeed, when you are sticking three or four goals past some top academies at youth level, you’re going to get noticed, and after the ‘Special One’ took a keen look at him in pre-season, it’s obvious that he’s seen something in the young gem.
There now won’t be a better chance to see Spurs’ future in action than in this very competition with the side advancing through into the Europa League knockout stages and battling for a place in the Premier League’s top four.