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A closer look at Tottenham Hotspur protege Alfie Devine

A closer look at Tottenham Hotspur protege Alfie Devine
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The midfielder came on at half-time and scored his side's fifth goal aged just 16 years and 163 days.

Alfie Devine earned a place in Tottenham’s record books when he became the club’s youngest ever player and goalscorer in the 5-0 win at Marine.

The midfielder came on at half-time and scored his side’s fifth goal aged just 16 years and 163 days.

Here, the PA news agency takes a closer look at the teenage star.

Sporting background

There is perhaps no surprise Devine is making his way towards the top as he comes from a sporting family. His dad Sean made 39 appearances for rugby league club St Helens between 1986 and 1990, while his cousin Kalan is also on the club’s scholarship programme.

A meteoric rise

Born on August 1 2004, Devine has had a prominent rise to the top. Starting out at Liverpool, he moved to Wigan aged 11 where his potential was quickly noticed. He first caught Spurs’ attention with a strong performance in the Latics’ FA Youth Cup victory over the Premier League side and not long after they made their move. He was already training with the Latics’ first team when Spurs paid in the region of £300,000 to get him to London.

Jose’s support

Jose Mourinho attended Alfie Devine's medial in the summer
Jose Mourinho attended Alfie Devine’s medical in the summer (Adam Davy/PA)

If Devine had any doubts about if he was making the right decision about his future, then they will have disappeared when Jose Mourinho turned up at his medical to meet him. It was clear that he was thought highly of, so much so that Mourinho used Devine in his pre-season plans, giving him playing time in a friendly win against Ipswich.

A boy in a man’s game

It did not take long for the midfielder to be moved up an age group from the Under-18s to the Under-23s and he proved he was not going to be over-awed as he hit the headlines in a game with Chelsea. Devine went in strongly on former England international Danny Drinkwater and the pair clashed afterwards, both receiving a red card. Mourinho seemed impressed enough to include him in some first-team training sessions not long after.

The magical moment

Devine was rewarded for his impressive progression when Mourinho sent him on at half-time against the FA Cup minnows, becoming the club’s youngest-ever player. Spurs were 4-0 up so had little to worry about, but the midfielder again looked at home in the men’s game and was comfortable on the ball and strong in the challenge. It took only 15 minutes for his dream day to get even better as he found the net with a low shot from the edge of the box to enter another page of the record books.

What the Premier League looked like in 2004

Devine was not even born by the time Jose Mourinho had given his
Devine was not even born by the time Jose Mourinho had given his “special one” press conference (Chris Young/PA)

Mourinho probably cannot help but feel a little bit old at seeing Devine in action. After all, the Portuguese was two months into his love affair with English football and just about to lead Chelsea to a first Premier League title when Devine was born. Arsenal were the defending champions having gone the previous season unbeaten, while Rafael Benitez had just been appointed Liverpool manager.

What the Spurs team looked like in 2004

Frederic Kanoute was leading the line for Tottenham when Devine was born
Frederic Kanoute was leading the line for Tottenham when Devine was born (Sean Dempsey/PA)

Spurs also had a new manager following the appointment of Jacques Santini, who had taken France to the Euro 2004 quarter-final in the summer. Their team was made up by the likes of Ledley King, who is now Mourinho’s first-team coach, Paul Robinson, Jermain Defoe and Jamie Redknapp. Just six games into Santini’s spell he took his side to Mourinho’s Stamford Bridge and his defensive set-up in a 0-0 draw saw the Portuguese coin the now famous “park the bus” phrase.

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