Written by Dan Davis (@dan_davis20)
Cherries striker Dominic Solanke has been labelled as a ‘quiet leader’ by Young Lions manager Aidy Boothroyd.
The £19 million man, who made the switch to Vitality Stadium in January, was fielded as a lone striker for the England Under-21s in their narrow defeat against Germany last night.
Solanke also skippered the side and netted shortly before half-time, capitalising on a poor clearance to rifle past visiting goalkeeper Florian Muller and level the scores.
And despite the visitors’ last-gasp winner, national boss Boothroyd admitted he was pleased with Solanke’s showing.
He said: “I think he was a bit isolated in the first half. But what he did do when he got the ball was hold it up against some very tough German centre-backs. His touch was exceptional, and he brought some other people into play.
“He made some excellent runs that didn’t get picked out in the first half, and in the second half Phil (Foden) and the other boys tended to find him. I’m glad he got his goal, and he does clearly love playing for his country as well as his club.”
The Bournemouth frontman is widely expected to be part of the 23-man squad for this summer’s Under-21s European Championships in Italy and San Marino, and is also a contender to captain the side.
Questioned about Solanke’s leadership qualities, Boothroyd said: “It was nice for him to wear the armband, because he is a quiet leader.
“He’s one of our leaders in the group. He’s a good guy and I think he’s one of those people who doesn’t use thousands of words when one will do. He doesn’t say an awful lot, but when he does people tend to take notice of him.”
The Young Lions boss also admitted he believed Solanke would receive further opportunities to lead the line at club level, despite the competition posed by Callum Wilson and Joshua King.
He added: “Obviously he’s (Solanke) got some competition with Callum (Wilson) and Josh (King). I was really pleased when he got the chance earlier because I thought it was really good for him.
“He’ll get the opportunity I’m sure to show what he’s all about at a good club with a good coach, and you can’t ask for any more than that. And hopefully when he gets to us, he’ll have a bit more game time and he’ll be able to hit the ground running.”