Dominic Solanke appears to be stuck in limbo. Even more so than your average highly promising prospect in the Chelsea youth system, Solanke appears to be in a state without function, aim, or purpose. Once about a year ahead of and rated well above Tammy Abraham, the kid setting the Championship on fire, Solanke has fallen well down the list.
The 19-year-old is not playing for Chelsea's youth or reserves teams (outside of a 30-minute cameo against Manchester United U23s in late August), he's not playing for the seniors (outside of a bench appearance against Bristol Rovers in the League Cup second round), and he's not out on loan like most others. After a decent loan spell at Vitesse last season, he's now going nowhere fast. How much of this has to do with his rumored contract stand-off? How much is due to injuries or just bad luck? Who knows. He is out there training with the senior team ... and that's about it.
He is however playing at the youth international level and it was his penalty kick on Monday that sealed the win for England U20 in the Four Nations mini-tournament between England, USA, Germany, and the Netherlands (not bad company!).
Fellow Chelsea youngster Jake Clarke-Salter (on loan at Bristol Rovers) also played the full game while reigning Chelsea Academy Player of the Year Fikayo Tomori was on the bench. Afterwards, sort-of teammate Izzy Brown (currently on loan at Rotherham United but not called up by any England squad due to illness) gently trolled the goalscorer.
So finally something to feel good about this season for Solanke.
Good to get some game time on international duty. Happy to top it off with a goal .— Dom Solanke (@DomSolanke) October 10, 2016
What the future may hold for him at this point is quite unclear. Near term, he'll be at Chelsea until at least January, at which he could perhaps head out on loan. He seems to be, at best, fourth choice striker on the squad right now behind Costa, Batshuayi, and Loftus-Cheek and is unlikely to find any playing time with the senior squad this season. And that's definitely not helping anyone at the moment.
Elsewhere, Chelsea youngster Dujon Sterling scored a winning goal for England U19 as they beat Bulgaria. Remember that name.
See Dujon Sterling's late goal, and subsequent team celebrations, to seal victory for the Under-19s over Bulgaria https://t.co/b7DA8WIgb2— England (@England) October 10, 2016