'It might be time to think about something else': Portsmouth boss on why loan starlet should change position to boost his Spurs future
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That’s the verdict of John Mousinho, who is convinced the 19-year-old’s career can flourish with positional flexibility.
And, for the sake of Scarlett’s development, Pompey’s head coach believes Scarlett should, in the short-term, focus on other roles with the North London giants rather than going head-to-head with England’s leading scorer.
Certainly the bulk of the forward’s appearances under Mousinho have come on the left flank rather than his preferred number nine position.
And at present, the Blues boss believes the under-21 international can flourish in that new responsibility.
He 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.
‘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.’
Scarlett has scored six goals in 37 appearances for the Blues, although started just three times under Mousinho.
Yet he remains a dangerous option off the bench, particularly in a left-sided attacking role.
Mousinho added: ‘He is genuinely both footed, he really is.
‘If he has a stronger foot I would say it’s his right, and it’s the ability to cut in on that right foot and score goals which means we play him on the left.
‘He can play as a nine, just off the front man and also deeper on the left in a 4-2-3-1.
‘It’s his first loan and he's developing pretty well. If you were looking for development from anybody's first loan, what Dane has produced this season to affect League One games has been brilliant.’