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