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Solanke: Picking up tips from the top

At the age of 16, Dominic Solanke is the youngest member of the group currently participating in our European training camp.

The young forward, who struck 20 goals for our Under-18s last season, has featured in more than two hours of match action across our four pre-season fixtures to date.

He is now training alongside strikers who have scored in Champions League finals, European Championship finals, at World Cups and in El Clasicos.

But, despite his tender years, Solanke already has big-game pedigree of his own. It was his two goals that decided a thrilling FA Youth Cup final last season, and a few weeks later it was Solanke who netted for a young England team in their ultimately victorious Under-17 European Championships final.

Now, with three weeks of training alongside the senior squad under his belt, it is clear his year is getting better and better.

‘It’s been fantastic,’ says Solanke. ‘When I found out I was going to come and train with the first team I thought it was a good opportunity for me to improve.

‘It’s been a really good experience playing with older players and getting to know men’s football. Now some of the players who played in the World Cup are here, people that I look up to like Torres, Costa and Drogba.

‘I learned from watching them on TV and now here I can learn from them every day because I am actually playing with them. I am always picking up little tips so it’s an amazing chance for me to improve.’

It is not just world-class players that Solanke has had the fortune of sharing a pitch with; he has also been a beneficiary of Jose Mourinho’s management.

‘The boss has been really supportive. He has tried to help me where he can and tried to improve my game. He’s just helped me through it all really and given me support.

‘Last season was a good season for me but this is another step up. I just want to do my best, and try and impress.

‘Chelsea are one of the best football clubs in the world and I have been here since I was a young boy. If I maybe get an opportunity in the next couple of years I just want to take it. This kind of experience doesn’t come around too often.'

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