Dominic Solanke has said he hopes to follow in the footsteps of former Chelsea team-mate Ruben Loftus-Cheek if Gareth Southgate sees fit to hand him his senior England debut against Brazil on Tuesday night.
Liverpool striker Solanke is yet to start a Premier League game in his fledgling career but has been parachuted into Southgate’s squad for the glamour friendly, along with fellow England Under-20 World Cup winner Lewis Cook and Manchester City youngster Angus Gunn.
The three replacements add to the youthful look of the squad, with Loftus-Cheek’s man of the match performance in the goalless draw against Germany last week demonstrating what England’s uncapped stars are capable of.
“We all watched the game as a group last week when we were in Ukraine,” Solanke said after he was promoted into the senior team having starred for the Under-21's just last week.
“It was amazing for Ruben to be named Man of the Match on his debut and that is something that all the young boys now want to follow. He said the atmosphere was really good and that he felt amazing, and that it was all a little bit surreal.”
Southgate, who knows England’s younger players well thanks to his days managing the Under-21 team, has repeatedly shown that he is not afraid to hand untested players their international debuts, something that Solanke thinks is only good for English football.
“A lot of the boys know Gareth from the Under-21s and he obviously knows a lot of us,” Solanke said. “So I think that it’s a really good time to be a young England player. He is really good and he is always looking to help us and guide us through.
“There’s a lot of great talent in English football and we’re doing well in the youth tournaments. We have to go us far as we can and keep working hard.”
The striker added that his call-up came as a “surprise” but that he was ready to seize his opportunity, with the Russian World Cup now just a matter of months away.
“It came as a surprise really but I’d like to think that being a footballer anything can happen,” he replied when asked to evaluate his chances of making Southgate's 23-man squad for Russia next summer.
“Things change quickly in football and when you get your chance you have to take it. It’s all about confidence and believe and if you get the opportunity you have to take it.
“Obviously the World Cup is the target for every England player. There’s still a long season ahead and everybody has to do everything they can at their clubs. And then we will see what it’s like at the end of the season.”
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