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