Solanke and Cook join Gunn among South­gate’s boys for Brazil

The Irish Mail on Sunday - - SPORTS - – DO­MINIC KING

DO­MINIC SOLANKE has had the gloss put on a year to re­mem­ber af­ter re­ceiv­ing his first Eng­land se­nior call-up.

The Liver­pool striker, along with Ruben Loftus Cheek, Jor­dan Pick­ford and Joe Gomez who all made their se­nior de­buts in Fri­day’s en­cour­ag­ing 0-0 draw against Ger­many, with Gomez com­ing on as a sub­sti­tute for Jones.

South­gate said: ‘The likes of Ruben, and Gomez when he came on, and Jor­dan have shown some really good qual­i­ties. Harry Winks is the same.

‘We had to get the bal­ance through the qual­i­fi­ca­tion. We had to qual­ify and then we can start to look at some of these guys and see what is pos­si­ble. I en­joyed watch­ing us play against Ger­many. I haven’t en­joyed watch­ing us play in all our games but away in Ger­many, against Spain and Ger­many at home I’ve en­joyed the per­for­mance.’ Liver­pool striker Solanke was in­formed af­ter the Un­der 21s re­turned home from Kiev yes­ter­day af­ter­noon that he and Bournemouth mid­fielder Cook would be join­ing Gunn in the squad to face Brazil on Tues­day.

Gunn was told on Fri­day night that he would be re­plac­ing the in­jured But­land and was un­der­stood to be over the moon when re­ceiv­ing the news. South­gate had con­sid­ered el­e­vat­ing Ever­ton striker Do­minic Calvert-Lewin and Le­ices­ter winger De­marai Gray for the show­piece fix­ture at Wem­b­ley but, af­ter dis­cus­sions with Aidy Boothroyd, he chose Solanke and Cook.

Cook, who cap­tained the Un­der 21s af­ter Gomez was pro­moted to the se­nior ranks, was ex­cel­lent in Kiev, while Solanke scored the open­ing goal and helped cre­ate the sec­ond be­fore he was re­placed late on. It has been a whirl­wind few months for the 20-year-old, who won the Golden Ball when Eng­land’s Un­der 20s be­came world cham­pi­ons in South Korea in June and then se­cured a dream move to Liver­pool.

Solanke said: ‘I was just fo­cus­ing on the game in Kiev be­fore­hand and if it hap­pens, it hap­pens. I’m sure it’ll be a great ex­pe­ri­ence. Ev­ery­one knows what a big thing it was for us to win the World Cup; it wasn’t just big for us, it was big for the coun­try, too. Of course I got the Golden Ball and that was a great achieve­ment. It is at home, with my fam­ily. They came up to Liver­pool with me. It is a great club and I feel that I have set­tled in.’

South­gate has al­ready cherry-picked Boothroyd’s squad to take Liver­pool de­fender Gomez, Swansea striker Abra­ham and Crys­tal Palace’s Lof­tusCheek and the Un­der 21 head coach be­lieves it has sent a mes­sage.

Boothroyd said: ‘When the boss says “I’ll take him, him and him” it gives ev­ery­body else in the squad hope.’

CAP THAT: An­gus Gunn with his dad, for­mer Scot­land goal­keeper Bryan

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