Portsmouth manager John Mousinho has suggested that Dane Scarlett has to evolve into a wide-forward in order to improve his chances of becoming a first-team player for Tottenham over the coming years.

Scarlett made an electric start to his loan spell at Pompey but the teenager’s goals have dried up since then, with the forward having found the back of the net just six times in 37 appearances this season (Transfermarkt).

Dane Scarlett

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The 19-year-old has found opportunities particularly hard to come by since Mousinho took over at the League One club in January, having started just three times under the new boss.

The Pompey head coach has now suggested that Scarlett should transition from being a number nine to a wide player so that he gets more game time this season while also improving his prospects of breaking through at Spurs.

Mousinho told The News: “Dane definitely has a future playing off one of the wings.

“He has probably been one of the victims of the shape change since I’ve come in and played one up top, with Colby taking to that position and being brilliant.

“As a number nine, Dane has clearly had limited opportunities and, when he has played in our side, it has been off the left and he’s affected games.

“He scored that all-important goal against Burton, while came on against Bolton and made a real difference, playing just behind Colby.

“Certainly if he wants to play for Spurs in the next year or so then it might be time to think about something other than playing as a number nine.

“That’s what Dane’s ambition should be, he should want to play for Spurs. I’ve actually watched him in Spurs’ new stadium for a Europa League game and modern centre-forwards need that flexibility.”

The 36-year-old pointed to Manchester United star Marcus Rashford as an example of someone whose career prospects improved substantially after evolving from a centre-forward into a wide-forward.

He continued: “One which springs to mind is Marcus Rashford, who was a centre-forward coming through the ranks and has now reinvented himself as that wide player cutting in – and still with the ability to score.

“That’s not a like-for-like comparison, they are completely different players, but maybe that’s something for Dane to think about.

“I know he wants to play as that number nine, but that flexibility fitting into different formations and different sides is going to be really important for him.”

Spurs Web Opinion

Scarlett’s pressing and his hold-up play is excellent, which is why I have no doubt that he will be a number nine in the future.

However, the youngster might benefit from operating as a wide-forward until he grows fully into his body and matures as a player.

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