Mourinho admits he was surprised by Dane Scarlett stat and reveals why he played him

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

Tottenham fans had a lot to be pleased about with the side’s exceptional display against Ludogorets last night.

Although the Bulgarian champions were sub-par opposition, the North Londoners barely gave them any space to breathe right from kick-off as they worked hard to push them back.

Ludogorets hardly managed to get into Tottenham’s half for the entirety of the first 45 minutes and the game was arguably over just past the half-hour mark when Carlos Vinicius scored his and Spurs’ second of the night.

One of the most pleasing aspects of the encounter was the fact that Jose Mourinho decided to hand three of Tottenham’s academy products, Dane Scarlett, Harvey White and Alfie Whiteman, their first-team debuts after Spurs were cruising 4-0 and had the game wrapped up.

Scarlett made history by becoming the youngest player ever to feature for Spurs at 16 years and 247 days (Optus Sport).

Although Mourinho admitted that he did not know of the record, he revealed that he had been impressed by the youngster in pre-season.

Speaking to Football.London, the Spurs boss said after the game: “I didn’t know that. So when I played him I didn’t know he was the youngest one. It’s a good thing. He had a good pre-season with us, it was a good experience for him at the age of 16 to have a pre-season with the first team.

“He played a few minutes in some of our pre-season matches. Of course he went back to his [U18] team. He trains with them. Yesterday 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?’

“There are of course a few names, especially the U18s because they are doing so well. 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.”

Mourinho admitted that White and Whiteman had been training with the first-team for a while, emphasising how much the midfielder had developed over the last year.

He added: “Harvey White is training with us every day. For about a year he’s been training with us every day so his evolution is good.

“The other kid, the goalkeeper, had the opportunity to be on the bench today and it was also a good opportunity. Normally with three changes and matches so close, normally he’s not even on the bench so it was a good opportunity for him. I’m pleased for them.”

Spurs Web Opinion

Of all the young prospects coming through the ranks including the likes of Tory Parrott, Malachi Fagan-Walcott, Dennis Cirkin and Alfie Devine, White is the player I am most excited about. Hopefully, the midfielder continues getting opportunities as a substitute this season.

Mourinho’s decision to bring Whiteman on was perhaps the biggest indication yet that Paulo Gazzaniga is on his way out in January. I suspect the Spurs boss wanted to give him some minutes, knowing full well that he is likely to be our third-choice goalkeeper for the second half of the season.

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