Tottenham Hotspur has been searching for both a backup and partner for Harry Kane since the Englishman broke through in the 2014/15 season. That season Tottenham had Roberto Soldado and Emmanuel Adebayor both of whom Kane came to replace. Winger Heung-Min Son has been a wonderful complement to Kane and occasional injury replacement over the last few years but a true second-striker has been something the team has been lacking.
While he is young, inexperienced, and it has only been two pre-season games, maybe Tottenham already has their long-sought-after back-up and partner for Harry Kane in Dane Scarlett.
Tottenham teenager a true striking talent
Before last year the talk was about Troy Parrott possibly coming on and having an impact on the Lilywhites senior team. Parrott had received a Republic of Ireland call-up already and had broken through with some spot minutes under both Pochettino and Mourinho. However, Parrott was never able to break through, so what makes Dane Scarlett different and why will he breakthrough?
Where Parrott is kind of in the Kane mold as a false nine who likes to drop deep to participate in possession and then get into the box, Dane Scarlett is an out-and-out striker. Less like Harry Kane and more like Sergio Aguero, Scarlett is a player that will spend most of his time on the shoulder of the last defender. This is something Spurs have lacked for several seasons.
Scarlett’s eye for a run makes him quite dangerous
Playing comfortably on the last defender puts Scarlett in a position to constantly pressure an opponent. Even better through two matches, Scarlett has shown a real sense of timing and an eye for making the right runs. We have seen these runs in both preseason game one and more recently in friendly two.
On his goal against Leyton Orient, the play looked like the kind you would draw on the chalkboard – or iPad – as he perfectly ran onto the ball and past the defense. Teams will teach that run all day long, however, the timing of that is really all instinct and clearly, Scarlett has it. Barely called for offsides in the second friendly, Scarlett again got behind the defense and put the ball into the net.
Scarlett’s calm in front of goal is beyond his years
Maybe the most impressive part of Scarlett’s goal against Orient was the calm with which he finished. A naturally right-footed player, Scarlett could have easily opened his hips and tried to use his stronger foot to slot the ball far post. That is exactly what Steven Bergwijn tried to do against Liverpool last season, only the post got in the way.
Scarlett is different from Bergwijn, however, in that he is a natural goalscorer – much like Harry Kane. There was no need to get the ball on his right foot. There was no need to try to even round the on-rushing keeper. Scarlett simply tucked the ball past the keeper into the far post with his left foot like a training ground exercise.
Now there is a HUGE difference between a 0-0 friendly against Leyton Orient and a 0-0 Premier League match-up with Liverpool for first place. However, there was never any hesitation or questioning in Scarlett’s actions, just the movement and proficiency of a player born to score goals.
Is Scarlett ready to contribute at Tottenham?
Fabio Paratici and Spurs may well and good sign a back-up and move in a different direction – like a loan – with Scarlett but that seems unlikely at this point as Scarlett looks to be a player on the verge. Ultimately, the market may determine the role Scarlett plays. If Tottenham does not sign another striker then we should expect Scarlett to play a role and if they do, well clearly the lad’s development will move in another direction.
Only Tottenham Hotspur really knows if Scarlett is ready to contribute this season. However, based on the first two preseason matches, Scarlett is positioned to contribute to the first team. Clearly the top striker behind Son and presumably Kane, Tottenham will need a third striker and maybe even a second to play directly with Kane. All things being equal, Scarlett looks to have the inside track to be that third striker, which should be exciting to all of us, including Harry Kane.