Flo: “Solanke has done really well”

Flo: “Solanke has done really well”

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Former Chelsea striker Tore Andre Flo has backed academy striker Dominic Solanke to eventually become a first team regular at the club.

Solanke has been a key part of the Chelsea Youth set up this season, helping the club to win the UEFA Youth Cup and the FA Youth Cup.

He scored a hattrick for the Blues U21’s against Liverpool last season – taking his goal tally up to 41.

Solanke was handed his first-team debut by Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho in the 6-0 Champions League group win over Maribor last October, and speaking to Sky Sports, Flo insists the striker has the graft and skill to succeed:

“He takes things the right way. He doesn’t get big-headed, he keeps his feet on the ground and of course he’s very good going forward.

“He’s got a very good physique and I think he’s got great touch on the ball. He’s quick but often what impresses me the most is when he looks like he’s lost the ball, he somehow manages to get out with the ball, no matter how tight the situation is or how difficult it looks.

“But it’s vital he continues to keep his feet on the ground and work hard every day. There is still a long way to go for Dominic even though he has done really well for the youth team.

“I just wish him the best and hope he can someday become a regular player at Chelsea.”

Solanke is just one of a number of Chelsea youngsters emerging from the club’s academy, with Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Izzy Brown, Jeremie Boga and Andreas Christensen all being involved in the first team during the latter stages of the season.

Flo, who is currently working at Stamford Bridge as a coach after scoring 46 goals in 146 appearances in a three-year spell at the club, has also praised the Blues’ youth setup which has seen them win success both abroad and at home in recent seasons:

“The first team and all the academy teams have done so well,” Flo said.

“All those that have worked within Chelsea are quite proud of what’s been going on. I’ve been here for three years now and I have been so impressed with the set-up, the facilities and the way in which they work at Chelsea.

“I have already learnt a lot as a coach being around such good players and such good colleagues.”

The Norwegian was speaking at the launch of Chelsea’s Asian Star program, the first of its kind in the country. The scheme’s aim is to increase the proportion of Asian players in the game, with 300 youngsters taking part in drills at the club’s Cobham training facility.

“It’s great for the club to be involved in a project like this,” he added.

“Chelsea are involved in a lot of great things for children, including trying to develop grassroots football and most of all allowing children to enjoy themselves.

“I’m really proud to be working for Chelsea Football Club. They are doing a great job with grassroots football – especially with events like Asian Star – which is why it’s so great to be involved with this club.”