After the 16-year-old impressed in Tottenham’s 4-0 Europa League victory over Wolfsberger, Jose Mourinho compared “diamond” wonderkid Dane Scarlett to Marcus Rashford.
During yesterday’s second leg, the Spurs boss took the opportunity to blood some youngsters as they cruised on aggregate into the last 16 of the 8-1 competition.
After the worst run of his stellar management career, it was a rare opportunity for Mourinho to highlight the positives.
In their previous eight games in all competitions, a dismal streak of six defeats left Tottenham in ninth position in the Premier League and out of the FA Cup.
Winning the Europa League is potentially their best opportunity to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
Since Kylian Mbappe in 2015, Scarlett is the first 16-year-old to assist in a Europa League goal for Monaco against Tottenham.
Mourinho’s confidence that he is ready to be promoted to the first-team squad for next season was strengthened by his results.
“He’s a diamond, a kid with unbelievable promise,” said the boss of Spurs. Next month, he’ll be 17 and I want him to be part of next season’s first-team squad.
“He has to be a first-team regular next season. Enormous talent. Excellent physical growth. He’s a striker, the No. 9 striker. But I played him from the foot, close to Marcus Rashford, and he’s clever already.”
Mourinho said that keeping Scarlett focused would be up to him and the coaching staff.
He said, “I hope nothing is going to ruin the opportunity. He’s got to keep his feet on the ground and his head on his back because he’s a great talent. So he’s here and there this season, he goes to the training sessions with us and plays the kids of his age, and there he practices.”
Mourinho joked that the player should not be eulogized too much, because he might face a backlash from inside the club.
He said, “Dane’s got amazing talent. “I don’t want to chat too much because I’m in the building tomorrow and the boy’s boss (Dean Rastrick, the academy’s head) is going to kill me.”