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Chelsea loanee Dominic Solanke opens up following derby victory

Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images

Most Chelsea fans only know Vitesse (i.e. Chelsea B) due to their loan links to the club since the early 2010s. But the 123-year-old Eredivisie club also have a lot of history outside of their recent dealings with the Premier League, including a long-standing, regional rivalry with Nijmegen club NEC, which currently also hosts one of our loanees in right-back Todd Kane.

Last Sunday, Vitesse and NEC renewed their rivalry, a match which ended 1-0 to the Arnhem club. Chelsea loanee Dominic Solanke took part in the event, and was amazed by the reception from the supporters that started before the game at Vitesse's training camp:

"The fans came to training [before the derby] and that was a good experience. There were a lot of them, they were letting off fireworks and stuff. It was amazing. They got behind us, so it was good to get the win and make them happy."

-Dominic Solanke; Source:

Solanke scored 4 goals in 12 matches so far in his current spell and even though he hasn't been as impressive as some would expect, he already earned the trust of his current manager Peter Bosz who sees him as a special player; although he's still got a lot to learn.

"You can see that he's incredibly talented. He has exceptional qualities. I have rarely seen such a footballer, especially at that age. It's actually unbelievable when you see what he does."

"Playing against physically strong defenders who are sometimes 10 years older than him is new to him. You can see that he sometimes still easy to push off the ball. He is learning."

"For a player of his height, he is very agile and he has above-average technique. I really expect him to be a big talent. I think it is very special that Dom is playing football with us."

-Peter Bosz; Source:

Solanke is getting his first minutes as a professional at Vitesse after spending 11 years at Chelsea's youth academy. Moving out of England as a 18-year-old to play football shouldn't be an easy task, but Solanke claims he's had a quick adaptation to the Netherlands due to the help he's gotten from his colleagues.

"I've settled in quickly. The other players have been really helpful. I'm happy here. It's just my first loan, so this is a good place to come and get a taste of the first team."

"When the manager has faith in you it always lifts you and makes you feel comfortable, so I'm thankful for that. There's always pressure in football, you just have to deal with it."

-Dominic Solanke; Source:

Many discussions take place among fans at the moment on the use of young players at Chelsea, and the importance of the "loan army" on the development of our academy players. The Eredivisie is certainly a step above the English youth leagues and Solanke says his development will take huge strides from spending time in the league.

"It's a good place to come, you can see the number of players who have come from here to Premier League, so it's a good level. You need to know what to do with the ball before it comes, that's important because you're not going to get a lot of time."

"Compared to youth football this is going to benefit me much more, we're playing against men. That's always going to improve your game. You just have to adapt as quick as you can."

-Dominic Solanke; Source:

For example, a match scenario that's quite rare in the youth leagues, NEC played deep and very defensive, looking for just a draw, which made it hard for Solanke to push up and create space for the midfield.  You can't push defenders any deeper if they're already sitting at the edge of their penalty area.

"You've got to adapt to how the other team plays, especially if they sit deep. You have to be patient and play wide, but if they are looking to get a goal like they were in the second then it opens more space."

"You've got to do your part for the team, if they are deep it's hard to create space for the midfield."

-Dominic Solanke; Source:

There's still a whole lot of polishing to be done on Solanke's current ability until he can find a stint in the Premier League, lest at Chelsea where his chances of breaking into the first-team at the moment are almost non-existent. But if he keeps this pace, improving not only physically and technically but also in reading the game, it will be only a matter of time before he's ready to take upon the next big challenge.

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