It’s been a year since the 18 year old Tottenham Hotspur Academy striker Dean Scarlett. This summer he played a key role for England, scoring twice as the Young Lions team won the European Under-19 Championship over Israel. He turned the attention sharply in 2020-21, scoring 17 goals for Tottenham’s Under-18 team and three goals in five games for Tottenham Under-23 when he was aged 16, enough that he was a permanent member of first-team coaching last season. .
His stats weren’t nearly as flashy last season, but that’s mostly because he spent so much time on the bench for Tottenham’s first team, making 24 Premier League matches, which included one 3-minute win in a 4-0 away win. . Leeds. He also played in three European League matches, starting two of them. By the end of last season, people were quietly whispering (not softly) that Tottenham might just have another real star on their hands.
His talent and work rate were enough to give him an absolute loan this summer, and he moved to Premier League club Portsmouth for the 2022-23 season. League One is a tough place to play, especially for an 18-year-old, and although the pyramid has gone downhill in recent years, Portsmouth have one of the biggest following of any club outside of the Premier League. There aren’t many bigger stages or better opportunities for a young player like Dane to make an impression.
Based on his early returns, he’s made a huge impression. Scarlett took some time to adjust to life in the first league with Pompeii, but he has played in every game so far this season. He broke a scoring duck last week, edging away from the match winner in a 1-0 win over Port Vale. And then, yesterday, as his home club beat Fulham, Dane scored both Pompey’s goals, earning him man of the match in a 2-1 home win over Peterborough United.
Dane’s first goal was a superb header that was the product of an equally beautiful run to the near post. His second, match winner, was practically Kane – Eske – he received the ball into the penalty area, took a dribble, and fired a shot through her defender’s legs past the goalkeeper in the near corner.
Dane’s goals starting at 1:02″ can be seen in the video below.
After the match, Pompey manager Danny Cowley described Scarlett as ‘unplayable’.
“I thought Dane Scarlett was unplayable in the first half. I think he is only one goal away from scoring a massive number of goals at this level.”
Young players can find their first loans a real wake-up call – they go from controlling players their age to being sacked by adult professional footballers several levels down the pyramid. It is not uncommon even for players with great potential to sit on the bench or take out a bad loan – see Harry Kane loans in Norwich and Lister Prior to the Spurs hack.
But so far, Scarlett has coped very well with the first league. He already has an npGA/90 of 1.03 and averages over three shots per 90 while playing in a 4-4-2 partnership, mostly with experienced striker Colby Bishop. His three goals and one assist in seven games at the age of 18 are just ridiculous.
These offerings are not lost on Pompeii believers either. Portsmouth fans have already fallen in love – he had a song at Fratton Park even before he scored his first goal.
It’s all too easy for fans to get caught up in praising young players. it is fun! You have to pin your hopes and dreams on someone with a bright future, but the other side of that coin is the burdens of expectations that fans place on the shoulders of those who are often least willing to deal with them. There’s a good chance Dane will be back on Earth at some point during this season, either through injury or, more likely, a spell where shots don’t fall off and performances are over.
Also, as good as it has been for Portsmouth, Spurs fans should be realistically prepared for the possibility that he is still at least 1-2 years away from having any kind of impact on the first team. There are not many players who have jumped from the Premier League straight to the Premier League, the only one I can think of is currently playing in Besiktas. Player development is rarely linear and there will undoubtedly be other challenges and obstacles on Scarlett’s path.
But he said that? Holy smoke. The Dane is exceeding all expectations on the south coast at the moment. It shows that he not only has the skills, but the work rate and attitude to be a star, and is building a solid platform for future success. Fellow Academy Troy Parrott (on loan to Championship team Preston North End) may be closer to the first team at the moment, but it’s hard not to look at what the Dane is doing in the first league and wonder if he’ll be the player to fill Harry Kane’s shoes in Tottenham.