James Milner has hailed the summer success of Liverpool’s new signing Dominic Solanke, and pledged to aid the young striker’s transition.
Solanke was part of the England side to win the U20 World Cup in South Korea earlier in June, and the 19-year-old won the Golden Ball, as player of the tournament.
This was a significant achievement for both Solanke and his country, who had not won a global tournament since 1966.
And with Solanke signing for the Reds on a free transfer at the end of May, Liverpool can anticipate the arrival of a hugely promising young player brimming with confidence.
Milner, speaking on the unveiling of Liverpool’s international academy in Utah, is relishing the prospect of working with the former Chelsea striker.
“He’s obviously had a great summer, he’s a good young player coming through,” Milner said.
“We’ve got a young squad anyway, so I think it’s good to keep that going. Being one of the older guys hopefully I can help him come along.
“But I think he’s shown already this summer, with what he’s done with the England team, winning the World Cup is a great achievement.
“To come out of that as the best player, you look at the other names over the years who’ve been named the best player in that tournament—he’s up there with some of the best.
“That’s great for him, a great confidence-booster, and if the Liverpool fans didn’t know who he was, they do now.”
Tall, strong, versatile, creative, hardworking and with an eye for goal, Solanke has all the attributes required to shine as part of Jurgen Klopp‘s forward line.
The teenager could take up a variety of roles, and most recently has impressed in a deeper role behind the leading striker, which should provide him more opportunities in the Liverpool squad.
Arriving to compete with the likes of Roberto Firmino, Divock Origi and Daniel Sturridge, Solanke faces a battle for a starting place next season.
But as Milner attests, his achievements alongside Ovie Ejaria and Sheyi Ojo with the England U20s highlight his potential.
His signing came somewhat out of the blue, but Solanke could prove to be an excellent piece of early business by the Reds this summer.
It remains to be seen how the striker will be valued, with a compensation fee of anywhere between £3 million and £10 million expected to be determined by tribunal.