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‘Maybe because he plays for little old Bournemouth’

‘Maybe because he plays for little old Bournemouth’

Adam Dickinson

Published 30/03/2024 at 21:00 GMT

Dominic Solanke once again proved crucial for Bournemouth as his record-equalling header helped The Cherries overcome Everton 2-1. It was Solanke’s 16th Premier League goal of the season – equalling Josh King’s best mark for Bournemouth. It sent a message to Gareth Southgate after Solanke was overlooked for his latest England squad. Only Erling Haaland has more league goals this season.

Dominic Solanke of Bournemouth celebrates after he beats Jordan Pickford of Everton and scores a goal to make it 1-0 during the Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Everton FC at Vitality Stadium on March 30, 2024 in Bournemouth, England.

Image credit: Getty Images

Smith backed Solanke to break into Gareth Southgate’s squad after netting his 16th league goal of the season in Bournemouth’s 2-1 win over Everton, while manager Andoni Iraola hailed the 26-year-old for “making the difference” for his side.

That header equals Josh King’s 2016/17 record for most Bournemouth goals in a Premier League season, with Solanke now joint-second in the race for the Golden Boot alongside Aston Villa’s Ollie Watkins with nine games left to play.

Solanke’s only Three Lions cap came in 2017 and he once again missed out on Southgate’s latest England squad for friendlies against Brazil and Belgium, with Watkins, Harry Kane, Jarrod Bowen and Ivan Toney preferred.

“I’ve said it all along, he should be in the England squad,” Smith said. “He is a top player, a top professional who can do everything.

“I don’t really understand why he isn’t in the England squad. Maybe because he plays for little old Bournemouth. He’s a top player and if he keeps scoring goals like this I am sure he will get in the squad.”

Smith supplied the assist for Seamus Coleman’s own goal. The Irishman turned the winner into his own net in stoppage time to leave Everton just three points above the relegation zone.

Though Bournemouth sit just three places above Everton, the win means they stay well clear of the relegation zone and move to just nine points behind sixth-place Manchester United.

It appeared they were going to miss out on the three points when Beto hit an 87th-minute equaliser to cancel out Solanke’s strike, though it still would not have prevented The Toffees from equalling their 12-game record for consecutive Premier League matches without a win.

Though the winner came from an Everton mistake rather than a piece of Bournemouth quality, Cherries boss Iraola felt his side deserved the win and discussed Solanke’s impact.

“He gives us much more than goals, he is making the difference for us,” Iraola told the BBC.

“We played the game we had to play. It is always difficult against Everton. I thought we were quite smart not to make mistakes and we had the clear chances. We deserved to win. One mistake for them, one mistake for us.”

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