Back in November, Tottenham’s 4-0 victory over a Ludogorets side – whose preparation for the contest couldn’t have been any worse – was as simple as it comes.
Tanguy Ndombele was excelling in a deeper midfield role, Harry Winks was scoring 50-yard pearlers and Carlos Vinicius, before he channeled his inner Kylian Mbappe against non-league Marine, was getting his first taste of goals in Spurs colours.
Even some of the kids got a go.
Jack Clarke appeared for the second time in a Spurs shirt before a triple substitution with ten minutes to go saw Alfie Whiteman, Harvey White and 16-year-old Dane Scarlett enter the fray.
In that moment, Scarlett became the club’s youngest-ever debutant – a feat that has now been taken away from him by Alfie Devine – following a swift rise through the youth ranks.
He’s a talent who rose to prominence after scoring four in the Under-18’s 7-0 victory over Southampton, and since making his first team bow has been back grinding with his fellow teenagers in the hope of further impressing Jose Mourinho.
And impress the Portuguese he most certainly will have done, after a rousing five-goal show helped Tottenham knock off Newport County – who love a good upset – in the FA Youth Cup. He will still have to wait for further opportunities, but that doesn’t mean you need to wait to find out more.
Here’s some key things to know about Scarlett.
Born in Hillingdon, Middlesex, Scarlett joined the club aged just six before progressing through the youth ranks.
The young striker’s been capped by England at an Under-15 and Under-16 level and made his Spurs Under-18 debut at the beginning of last season. Scarlett appeared four times for the Under-18s during the 2019/20 campaign and netted his first goal against Aston Villa before disaster struck…
Following a bright start to his career at an Under-18 level, Scarlett’s debut season was cut short a month after netting his first goal, following a serious knee injury against Chelsea.
“I got injured on 9 November but my operation was a year ago this week,” he told the official Spurs website after the Ludogorets game. “My mum, dad, little sister, everybody who was around me supported me, and of course the staff here too, the medical staff… they all stuck with me, pushed me and made me stronger. It’s an amazing feeling to make my debut now – I’m very thankful.”
Thankfully, Scarlett had young genes on his side, helping him to make a complete recovery.
Scarlett’s determination to return to full fitness as soon as possible was rewarded as he was given the opportunity to train with the first team in an albeit brief pre-season.
The 16-year-old appeared in friendly victories over Ipswich and Reading in the summer before starting the 2020/21 season with the Under-18s on fire.
At one point, Scarlett had ten goals in eight games, with his senior debut arriving off the back of a four-goal haul in the 7-0 humiliation of Southampton. As mentioned before, four clearly wasn’t enough to satisfy his hunger for goals – with a five-goal – and five-star – showing against Newport his new crowning glory.
Scarlett revealed in the wake of his then record-breaking appearance how he’s built a collection of his old football boots from important matches during his formative years.
“I’ve got some boots that I’ve kept where I’ve played well in them and thought ‘I want to keep these’. I’ve got some Nike T90s, grey and green, from the start when I was maybe six or seven years old,” he said in an interview.
“I’ve got quite a few pairs, about 15 or 16, but probably the boots I got injured in last year are the ones I look at most. Every time I see them I just remember what happened and it’s helped to push me on.”
Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho revealed after the Ludogorets clash that he had no idea that Scarlett would become Spurs’ youngest ever player, saying: “When I played him I didn’t know he was the youngest one. He played a few minutes in some of our pre-season matches. Of course, he went back to his [Under-18] team. He trains with them.
Mourinho then described the process which saw Scarlett called up, and how he leaned on the club’s staff to ensure the player most deserving got the nod.
“When I felt there was space for another young player in the squad, I didn’t decide by myself, I asked my football director and I asked the academy director and they contacted all the coaches. ‘Who deserves?’
“They gave me his name and because I knew him already I thought if the opportunity would arise it would be a good chance for me and a good feeling for everyone in the academy.”