Bournemouth of England attacker, Dominic Solanke has disclosed that he is still staying positive about a glorious run in his career, despite having a shaky spell so far; with torrid days for the Nigerian-born lad during his days at Chelsea and Liverpool.
In spite of emerging most valuable player during the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup, which he helped England win, as key player in The Junior Lions’ squad handled by Gareth Southgate, Solanke is yet to hit the ground running, with stagnation coming from trying to dislodge Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mané or Roberto Firmino at Liverpool, after earlier failing to do same with Diego Costa et al at Chelsea, and now to joining south-coast club, Bournemouth for £19m in January.
At Chelsea it felt like only a matter of time before Solanke made it, but, following another change of manager, with Jose Mourinho fired and Antonio Conte taking over, his contract running down and a stand-off over a new deal, he decided to leave.
He took up an offer to go to Anfield in 2017 in a high-profile transfer which attracted increased scrutiny over his ability to fulfill his potential, after which a flood of criticism came, and he had to face up to the stark reality that he was not going to find it like a bed of roses or stroll in the park.
Before joining Liverpool, Solanke, won only just turned 22, won the U-20 World Cup with England in South Korea and went home with the Golden Ball, as best player of the tournament, in a team that included Ademola Lookman, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Fikayo Tomori, Sheyi Ojo and captained by Lewis Cook, now also with him at Bournemouth.
Solanke went from trying to shift out Diego Costa and Didier Drogba to attempting to force his way into Jürgen Klopp’s forward line and, though 27 appearances in his first season sounded good, there was only one goal to show in his stop-start, but it all stopped in the second season, with Divock Origi and Daniel Sturridge back from loan spells adding to the competition.
The tall yet velvety attacker, who made a single first team competitive appearance during his time at Chelsea, disclosed further that he does not avoid social media but he has learnt how to surf through positives, having witnessed that everyone has an opinion about everything.
Solanke recounted: “If I see a negative comment I just try to ignore it. It’s true that it’s hard not to take it to heart a little bit but I am in a good position and you need to think about the positives. Comments do not last forever.
“I definitely wanted to break through but it got to a point where I just wanted to try and play. People might think I was impatient but I was just a young boy who wanted to play football. Getting attention quite young can be a good and bad thing but it’s just a part of football that everyone has to deal with. Everyone has opinions and you’ve just got to stay mentally strong,
“The good thing? It’s good that you are getting talked about for a reason, having a good start early in your career. But the negative thing is that if things are not going so well – you know how social media is, for example. There will always be negative things said but it makes it even more important then to keep focused.
“When you are at a big club it is always going to be hit-or-miss. If you take your chance when you get in – but it was tough to get into that front-three and you can see what they are achieving. Again I just wanted to start playing. I was seeing other people playing [at other clubs] who I knew and had come through with and I just felt I had to play.
“Everyone has different paths. Football is risk and reward. If you back yourself then hopefully you can go anywhere and do what you need to do. When Bournemouth called it was something that I really thought about and all the factors pointed to coming here and progressing in my career.”