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Club news

Solanke geared up for international tests


AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

AFC Bournemouth’s Dominic Solanke will be looking to maintain his impressive form on the international stage when England under-21s pit their wits against Poland and Germany.

The Young Lions continue their preparation for this summer’s European Under-21 Championship finals when they face their fellow qualifiers in friendlies on home soil.

Aidy Boothroyd’s team meet Poland at Bristol City’s Ashton Gate tomorrow before hosting current champions Germany at a sold-out Vitality Stadium on Tuesday (both 7.45pm kick-off).

England, beaten by Germany on penalties in the 2017 semi-final, will face France, Romania and Croatia in group games at the finals, which take place in Italy and San Marino in June.

Solanke, who joined the Cherries from Liverpool in January, has represented England at all youth levels and has netted eight goals in 15 appearances for the under-21s.

In an interview with afcb.co.uk, Solanke said: “There’s a big European tournament coming up in the summer and all the boys are really looking forward to it.

“It’s good to get together to start preparing for it and we need to get to know each other’s game. Playing teams like Poland and Germany will be really good for us.”

“I think they're going to be good games against good opposition, and against Germany in what is obviously a great stadium! I remember the last time we played here, it was a good atmosphere, so I’ll be looking forward to the game.”

Solanke helped England win the European Under-17 Championship in 2014 and the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in 2017.

He was also named England men’s youth player of the year in 2014 and Golden Ball winner at the Under-20 World Cup.

Solanke won his first senior cap when he came on as a 75th-minute substitute in a 0–0 draw against Brazil in a friendly at Wembley in November 2017.

He also came off the bench when England under-21s triumphed 3-0 over Latvia in their first home qualifier at Vitality Stadium in September 2017.

Solanke added: “It’s a great atmosphere. With it being England, everyone in the country will be supporting us so it’s always nice when the crowd are cheering.

“The Latvia game was a qualifier and we got the win so that was positive for us. Hopefully everyone who came was entertained.

“At most England games, you see a lot of young kids coming to watch as well, so I think it will be good for this ground to host the game.”

“These tournaments are really important and you want to give everything you can to win and try to make everyone in the country proud.

“From a spectator’s point of view, these games bring together players from all over Europe so you get to see talent from everywhere.”

Both England and Germany are due to use AFC Bournemouth’s facilities to train on in the lead up to Tuesday’s friendly.

In an interview with the FA, coach Boothroyd said: “These matches will be really good tests for us against very tough opposition.

“The games will allow us the chance to get a gauge of two teams that we may face in the finals, as both have qualified for the Euros.

 “It’s also a chance for us to look at new players, try new formations and continue the progress that we have been making.

“We’re grateful to both AFC Bournemouth and Bristol City for allowing us to play in their stadiums.

“Having been in both before, I know what special atmospheres they can create. We’re looking forward to showcasing some of our best young players and having two good games in front of big, supportive crowds.”

Chris Mepham could be in contention to start when Wales meet Trinidad & Tobago in a friendly in Wrexham tonight (7.45pm) but his Cherries teammate David Brooks is a doubt with a minor ankle injury.

Brooks was one of three players to train separately from the main group during an open session at Manchester United’s Carrington complex yesterday and could be rested.

Brennan Camp will be hoping to help Scotland rewrite the record books as they bid to qualify for the finals of the European Under-19 Championship for only the second time in their history.

The Cherries under-18 skipper has been named in Billy Stark’s squad for Elite Round qualifiers against Turkey, Cyprus and Portugal, all of which take place in Portugal.

Camp, who scored on his international debut in a 2-0 win over Azerbaijan in a friendly last month, could feature when the Scots face Turkey in Felgueiras today (2pm).

Nathan Ake will be hoping to win his 11th cap when Netherlands host Belarus in a Euro 2020 qualifier in Rotterdam tomorrow (7.45pm).

And Alex Dobre, who is currently on loan at Yeovil, is in the Romania under-21 squad for a friendly against Spain in Granada tomorrow.

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