Liverpool man admits shock as he prepares for England bow
Dominic Solanke could make a dream England debut against Brazil – before the talented striker has even made a Premier League start for his club, Liverpool.
A spate of injuries has meant Gareth Southgate’s World Cup preparations have started in a far more experimental fashion than planned.
Five players were handed their debuts in Friday’s encouraging 0-0 draw with Germany and three even fresher faces are in the squad to face the five-time world champions on Tuesday.
Lewis Cook, Angus Gunn and Solanke have been drafted in from the Under-21s to bolster the senior ranks to face Brazil, despite the fact the latter have yet to start a Premier League match.
“It came as a surprise, really, but anything can happen as a footballer,” Liverpool striker Solanke said.
“Football can change quickly so if you get an opportunity, you have to take it.
“Football is all about confidence and belief, and if you believe in yourself and you get an opportunity than all you can do is take it.
“It’s crazy, really. It’s every boy’s dream and to play at Wembley against a great nation like Brazil, so it will mean a lot.”
Solanke’s only start in English football to date is September’s Carabao Cup loss at Leicester, although he has made nine appearances off the bench for Liverpool following his summer move from Chelsea.
A solitary substitute appearance was all the 20-year-old had to show for his time at Stamford Bridge, with his only regular first-team football during that time coming on loan at Dutch side Vitesse Arnhem during the 2015/16 season.
Solanke has had to be patient at club level but his potential has been clear within the country’s development ranks, winning the Golden Boot as England triumphed at the Under-20 World Cup in the summer – the country’s first global title since 1966.
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“I think there is a lot of great talents in English football,” Solanke said, having seen the Under-17s follow suit at their World Cup.
“We do well in quite a lot of the youth tournaments, so I think everyone has just got to stay grounded and keep working their way up to the top and just go as far as they can, really.”
Solanke is a long way from the top but within touching distance of the chance to rub shoulders with the likes of Neymar.
“It is crazy,” the Liverpool forward added, smiling. “You know they have world-class players like Neymar.
“To play against them would be amazing, really. You always watch them and think how good they are, so it will be amazing.”