Antonio Conte could have another Harry Kane waiting in the wings at Tottenham Hotspur.
The Italian head coach is hugely light on options in the centre-forward department and that is something he and sporting director Fabio Paratici will be unable to rectify until the summer, having failed to sign anyone in the role this January.
With the north London outfit still in the FA Cup, where they will face Championship outfit Middlesbrough on Tuesday night, and firmly in the race for the top-four in the Premier League, we could well see the need for alternatives to the England international.
After all, he can’t be expected to remain 100% match fit if he starts, and plays the full duration, of every game. Therefore, Conte must seek an option from within and with the likes of Troy Parrott and Kion Etete enjoying loan spells away in the EFL, the burden call fall upon Dane Scarlett.
It’s become evident that the 17-year-old has already caught the manager’s eye, having come off the bench for a three-minute cameo in the resounding 4-0 win over Leeds on Saturday afternoon – his ninth senior appearance for the club.
He may have only played 282 minutes for the first team but Scarlett is a hugely promising goalscorer and one that has impressed in abundance for the academy system.
The talismanic teenager scored 23 goals in as many games for the U18s before being trusted to feature for the U23s, even despite his very young age. There, he has found the net four times across 12 appearances, as per Transfermarkt.
Conte isn’t the first manager to have seen something in the attacking gem. It was Jose Mourinho who handed him his debut and was in charge for his first direct goal contribution, an assist against Wolfsberger AC in the Europa League last season.
“He is a diamond, a kid with incredible potential,” he told BT Sport (via The Athletic) after that aforementioned clash.
“He has worked many times with the first team and that gives him a different personality. He is still 16, 17 soon (in March) and I believe next season he will be a first-team squad player because he has a lot of talent.”
Elsewhere, the Portuguese – who is now in charge of AS Roma in the Serie A – has also compared him to one of his former Manchester United stars, Marcus Rashford.
“He is going to be a fantastic player and I hope everything around him goes well. He is a striker, a number nine, I have been playing him from the sides similar to Marcus Rashford and he is very clever,” he once said.
On the above evidence, the Lilywhites faithful have plenty to be excited about with Scarlett and if Conte continues to keep him involved over the course of his tenure, then the 17-year-old could well become the next Kane at Hotspur Way.
In doing so, the young forward with bags of potential can save chairman Daniel Levy and the club millions of pounds in future transfer windows as they will not need to spend if he emerges to be half the talent of the England skipper.