The irony of Dominic Solanke making his England debut against Brazil at Wembley this month despite playing just 85 minutes of Premier League football for Liverpool has not been lost on Steve Bruce.
The Aston Villa manager is baffled that Solanke is getting picked for the national team when he is still awaiting his first ever start in top flight football. And with Bruce stating that the former Chelsea striker should be allowed to leave on loan in January to a Football League club, does he have an ulterior motive in mind?
“We need the larger clubs to have associations with the smaller ones,” Bruce said in quotes reported by the Liverpool Echo. “The general consensus is that the Under-23s isn't quite working. If you play when you are 18 and you are successful, you need the next step.
“At the moment, we've got the ludicrous situation of Solanke playing for England when he's hardly had a game with Liverpool. That can't be right. We have young players all over the country doing well – but not playing.”
It may just be a coincidence that Bruce is making these claims when Aston Villa are enduring a shortage of strikers, Jonathan Kodjia ruled out for a number of months after suffering a repeat of his ankle injury while Keinan Davis also picked up a problem in the weekend’s win over Ipswich Town.
With Solanke struggling for regular opportunities at Liverpool, it is not out of the question that Jurgen Klopp will let him leave on loan in January in order to get some much needed minutes under his belt.
And while Steve Bruce is championing for Solanke to get his chance at club level, perhaps he should consider giving the 20-year-old the first-team opportunities he so clearly beleives he deserves with Villa’s attacking options stretched to their limit.