Jose Mourinho took no risks when naming his team for Tottenham’s trip to eighth tier Marine in the FA Cup, selecting the likes of Dele Alli, Moussa Sissoko and Matt Doherty in his starting XI.
One inclusion that did raise a few eyebrows was 16-year-old Alife Devine, who earned a spot on the substitutes bench for the first time in his fledgling career.
Despite his tender years, the teenager has already racked up a few, notable career moments. But who is Alfie Devine and what are these moments? Here’s a deep dive into his career so far.
Just 15 minutes after coming on at half time against Marine, Devine had earned his place in the record books as Spurs’ youngest ever goalscorer.
Latching onto Lucas Moura’s pass inside the box, he manoeuvred the ball onto his right foot before crashing a shot through the two defenders and into the back of the net.
At just 16 years and 163 days, Devine’s record is likely to stand for some time.
Back in January, Devine made a name for himself in the worst way possible.
In an Under-23s London Derby against Chelsea, the midfielder went in high and reckless on Danny Drinkwater.
The Premier League winner did not react well, scrambling along the floor before swiping at Devine’s leg. Drinkwater attracted some criticism for his part in the fracas, but on reflection his angry response was justified.
It really was a terrible challenge.
Perhaps unsurprisingly as he is so highly rated, Devine has already received an England call-up.
He turned out twice for the Under-16s in last year’s games against Japan and Spain respectively. Included in that same team was Kian Pennant, nephew of former Liverpool and Stoke City star Jermaine.
If Devine does make it to the top, Liverpool will be frustrated as they let him go aged 11.
After failing to make the grade at Anfield, Wigan Athletic snapped him up and he made his Under-23 debut for the Latics aged just 15 last season.
During this time, he also began training with his first team, before the club sold him to Tottenham after falling into financial difficulties.
Although his is still developing, Devine has already showcased a pretty remarkable level of tactical versatility at Spurs.
Across 12 games for the club’s Under-18 and Under-23 sides, he has played as both an advanced and defensive midfielder. As his crunching tackle on Drinkwater showed, he has an aggressive streak in him, while his goal against Marine showcased his excellent technique.
Blessed with bags of energy, Devine appears capable of playing anywhere in the midfield – a trait that is bound to be useful in his future career.
adidas moved quickly to secure Devine’s sponsorship when he joined Spurs in the summer.
It’s a move that could pay off big if he fulfils his potential and goes right to the top over the next few years.
Just in case you were in any doubt about just how young Devine is, here are a few footballing events that happened before he was born:
Excuse us, we’re all off to go and cry…