Nuno Espirito Santo has revealed that Dane Scarlett will make his first competitive start for Tottenham on Thursday but Joe Rodon will miss out through injury.
With the Portuguese leaving all of the players who started in Sunday’s victory against Manchester City out of his line-up, a mixed team of Tottenham fringe players, new signings and youngsters has travelled to Portugal to face Pacos de Ferreira in the Europa Conference League play-off first leg.
With Harry Kane remaining at Hotspur Way to train and Son Heung-min and Lucas Moura not involved, 17-year-old Scarlett will get his chance after coming off the bench in the Premier League and Europa League last season and impressing this pre-season under the new boss.
“He’s going to start the game tomorrow,” said Espirito Santo. “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.”
He added: “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.”
One player who will not be involved is young Welsh centre-back Joe Rodon, who picked up a thigh injury at the weekend when he was set to start in Portugal.
“Unfortunately Joe will miss the game, he had a small problem after the game in the training session we usually do in the stadium,” explained the Portuguese.
“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.”
Espirito Santo faced more questions about Kane as the England captain is set to miss his second game of the new season.
The Tottenham boss is already visibly growing weary of the narrative surrounding the striker’s future.
“With all my respect, maybe I’m the only one who doesn’t really care about what’s been said and written outside, because this you cannot control, and honestly with all my respect it doesn’t really matter,” he said.
“What matters is what is happening behind the doors, and what is happening behind the doors is that Harry is our player, he’s preparing himself, training today, he’s going to train tomorrow and again on Friday, joining the group, and this is how we operate.
“We don’t really pay much attention to what’s said outside regarding the situation of Harry, Harry is our player, one of the best players in the world, and we are very lucky to have him.”
When it was put to Espirito Santo that a Tottenham side without Kane would be a strange one, he said: “He grew up as a Spurs player. He’s a Tottenham Hotspur player, so.
“I’m not 100 per cent sure but for sure Tottenham player have played without many of the players eventually at sometime. For sure in the past Tottenham have played without Harry, Sunday we played without Harry.
“It’s always good when you can have all the players involved and such quality and talented players involved as it only makes our squad and team stronger.”
From the latest transfer news to those glorious wins in north London and beyond! There might even be a laugh or two too.
The Portuguese was asked whether he felt like he had landed in a situation at Tottenham that saw him caught in the middle.
“There are not many managers actually in the Premier League that know what exactly is going to happen while the transfer window is open,” he said. “We all live in the same situations all around the clubs.”
On Kane he added: “What we must be sure of is that when we decide to put a player on the pitch we have to consider all of the aspect, the fitness, the mental aspects and we are here to support all of the players equally. Harry has all of our support.”
When asked when he had last spoken to the striker, he said with a smile: “Today we had breakfast together!”