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Dominic Solanke scores as England U21s seal priceless Euro qualifier victory

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Liverpool striker Dominic Solanke found the back of the net as the England U21s fought for a 2-0 Euro U21 qualifier victory away to Ukraine on Friday.

Ukraine U21s 0-2 England U21s

Euro U21 Qualifier, Obolon Arena
November 10, 2017

Goals: Solanke 16′, Lukyanchuk (OG) 62′

The Young Lions took to the Obolon Arena in Kiev on Friday afternoon for their only Euro U21 qualifier of the November break, seeking a vital three points.

Having won three and drawn one of their first four clashes in Group 4, Aidy Boothroyd’s side headed to the Ukraine in confident spirits, looking to extend their lead at the top.

And Solanke, who is set to join up with Gareth Southgate’s senior squad for Tuesday night’s friendly against Brazil, assumed his duties as No. 9.

Flanked by wide duo of Ademola Lookman and Demarai Gray, Solanke served to spearhead Boothroyd’s attack, and got England off to the perfect start with a goal on 16 minutes.

The 20-year-old made his opportunity count when fed by Everton midfielder Kieran Dowell, firing hard into the bottom corner from the edge of the penalty area.

While Ukraine created more chances in the first half, England were by far more clinical, hitting the target with all four of their efforts.

Boothroyd looked to counter the hosts’ threat with two early substitutions after the break, introducing Man United‘s Axel Tuanzebe and Everton‘s Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

And the Young Lions extended their lead on the hour, through an own goal from right-back Pavlo Lukyanchuk, with Solanke involved in the buildup.

With England cruising, Boothroyd opted to withdraw Liverpool’s No. 29 as his side saw out a comfortable 2-0 win.

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 23, 2017: Liverpool's Dominic Solanke looks dejected after missing a chance during the Football League Cup 3rd Round match between Leicester City and Liverpool at the King Power Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Solanke has established himself as a key member of Boothroyd’s new-look U21s squad after leading the U20s to triumph at the World Cup last summer.

His inclusion for the seniors next week is likely to be a temporary measure, such is the dearth of numbers at Southgate’s disposal, but it may not be long before he steps up permanently.

While he has been forced to stay patient on Merseyside, with his only start since joining Liverpool coming in the League Cup loss at Leicester City, he is clearly highly regarded.

He is yet to miss at matchday squad in the Premier League, and has made nine substitute appearances in all competitions.

Roberto Firmino‘s prominence as Jurgen Klopp‘s first-choice centre-forward has ensured there are few opportunities for Solanke, who is also competing with Daniel Sturridge.

But if he continues finding the back of the net for club and country, and Solanke could earn himself a more significant role in the near future.

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