Harry Kane isn’t in Portugal to play in the Europa Conference League, so his place will fall to his understudy, and possible future replacement. Speaking to the press ahead of Thursday’s Conference League playoff first leg at Liga NOS side Pacos de Ferreira, Tottenham Hotspur head coach Nuno Espirito Santo confirmed that the 17 year old striker and academy graduate, heir to the “He’s one of our own” chant, will have his first competitive first team start tomorrow.
“[Scarlett] is going to start the game tomorrow. We have big, big expectations regarding Dane because he did so well in pre-season which you recall the game against Leyton Orient in which he scored and he was involved in many of the games in pre-season. He’s a young talent that we want to develop and we want to make him better and want to make him grow because there’s a lot of potential there.”
“I think it should be our idea in the club to use opportunities for young players to play. When we have talent we must believe in them and go for it.”
That’s a pretty huge opportunity for a young player like Scarlett, who has blasted his way out of the academy to become the youngster upon whom Spurs fans can hang their hopes and dreams. Scarlett first came to the minds of most Spurs fans last season after Jose Mourinho bigged him up and said he wanted him to be training with the first team. Well, Dane got his wish, and thanks to the Europa Conference League he and a bunch of other young players are hopefully going to get plenty of opportunities for first team action this season.
That’s if they get past Pacos de Ferreira in a two-legged playoff. The Portuguese side — the former club of Paulo Fonseca — finished fifth in the Porguguese first division last season. That sounds a little scary, but ELO ratings make Pacos out to be a contemporary with lower-half Championship clubs like Nottingham Forest and Coventry City, and behind such luminary sides as Luton Town and Preston North End.
Does that mean Spurs should mop the floor with them? Well, that’s the question! Spurs are likely to play a highly rotated side tomorrow, and based on the players we know are already there, you can start to get a feel for who, beyond the Great Dane, might comprise the starting XI.
From the training photos looks like it's a 21 man squad for tomorrow of which 19 are:— Lilywhite Rose (@Lilywhite_Rose) August 18, 2021
Can you make a team out of these component parts that’s good enough to earn at minimum a scoreless draw in Portugal against basically a bad Championship side? Guess we’ll find out!
Nuno also gave an update on Joe Rodon, whom we have seen precious little of in the offseason, and the news isn’t great. Rodon was apparently set to start tomorrow but picked up a minor thigh injury and will miss out.
“Unfortunately Joe will miss the game, he had a small problem after the game in the training session we usually do in the stadium. Yesterday he tried but he is not 100 per cent fit so he is not going to play. It is a big disappointment because we want all of the players to get minutes.
“No [it’s not a bad injury], I suppose it’s a small one, I think he will be back soon.”
The match kicks off at 2:30 p.m. ET tomorrow (7:30 p.m. UK) but it might be our English friends may be the only ones who can watch. The match is carried on Premier Sport 1 in the UK, but is not currently on any television or streaming schedules in the USA. CBS/Paramount+ has the streaming rights for European matches (including the ECL) this season and will be streaming every match of the main competition, but their website states that it will televise “select qualifying matches”.
Paramount+’s website currently says it plans to stream the KuPS Kuopio vs. Union Berlin, and Basel vs. Hammarby tomorrow.