Shaquille Coulthirst scored on his first appearance for the Tottenham Under-21 side on Saturday to remind manager Andre Villas-Boas that there is plenty of quality coming through the Spurs academy.

Tottenham are short of options when it comes to strikers and were forced to start with Clint Dempsey as an auxiliary forward in the FA Cup defeat to Leeds United on Sunday after Jermain Defoe was ruled out through injury.

Shaquille Coulthirst
Shaquille Coulthirst in action against Barcelona in the NextGen series. [NextGen]

With Emmanuel Adebayor currently away at the Africa Cup of Nations, Villas-Boas was forced to use Dempsey as a makeshift striker, while 22-year-old Jonathon Obika, who was the only senior forward available, was named on the substitute's bench.

Obika has had eight loan spells during his time at White Hart Lane and is yet to play a single league game, despite Tottenham being desperately short of options.

Villas-Boas has made it clear that he will not be bringing another striker to the club during the transfer window so he will be pleased to see the progress being made by promising 18-year-old forward Coulthirst.

The youngster from Hackney only joined the academy on a full-time basis in July 2011 but has quickly risen through the youth set-up after finishing as the top scorer for the Under-18's last season.

He has continued to impress this year, scoring a memorable hat-trick against Barcelona in the NextGen series, and was handed his debut in the Under-21 side at the weekend.

He helped Tottenham take the lead over Southampton after just 11 minutes with a well-placed header but he was unable to help his side gain all three points as the Saints battled back to claim a 2-2 draw.

Coulthirst will hope that he can continue his rapid rise through the ranks at Tottenham and may well be targeting a place in the Europe League squad which enters the knockout stages of the competition next month.

With Harrry Kane currently on-loan at Norwich, Coulthirst will hope to continue to impress in the Under-21 Premier League and push for a place in the first team squad before the end of the season.