5 Things You Didn't Know About Chelsea Youngster Dominic Solanke

Garry Hayes@@garryhayesFeatured ColumnistOctober 22, 2014

5 Things You Didn't Know About Chelsea Youngster Dominic Solanke

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    Garry Hayes

    Chelsea have a mounting injury crisis with just one proven striker fit heading into Sunday's clash with Manchester United.

    However, there are plenty of reasons for Chelsea fans to be feeling positive, especially after witnessing Dominic Solanke make his debut in the 6-0 win over Maribor on Tuesday.

    The 17-year-old is making waves in the club's junior ranks, and after a prolific season last year, he has been fast-tracked to Jose Mourinho's first team.

    He was on the bench against Crystal Palace last weekend, but he got his chance in front of a sell-out Stamford Bridge crowd in midweek, replacing Oscar as a substitute.

    His career is just starting, so there is much to learn about Solanke.

    To get you started, Bleacher Report brings you things you didn't know about the youngster. 

Solanke Was Born After Chelsea Won the FA Cup in 1997

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    MAX NASH/Associated Press

    Chelsea won the FA Cup in 1997, beating Middlesbrough 2-0 at Wembley.

    It was the club's first major trophy since they lifted the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1971. The success heralded a new beginning where Chelsea were back among England's elite.

    John Terry was in the youth team back then. Three years later, he was on the bench when Chelsea won the FA Cup again in 2000, beating Aston Villa 1-0.

    Roberto Di Matteo, currently Schalke manager, scored in both those finals for Chelsea.

    As for Dominic Solanke, he wasn't even born when Dennis Wise lifted the FA Cup for Chelsea in May 1997.

    Solanke had to wait a few more months, being born on Sept. 14, 1997. 

When Didier Drogba Scored His Last Chelsea Goal, Solanke Was in Year 9 at School

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    Frank Augstein/Associated Press

    Didier Drogba scored his first goal following his Chelsea return on Tuesday night, slotting home a penalty against Maribor.

    It was his first goal of any kind for the club since his penalty against Bayern Munich that sealed Champions League glory in May 2012.

    Drogba left Chelsea soon after that, his top-flight career appearing over.

    As we know, he returned this summer for one last hurrah, signing on a free transfer from Galatasaray.

    Dominic Solanke was given 20 minutes to play alongside the Ivorian against Maribor, and it was an amazing feat for many reasons.

    Above all, when Drogba scored that penalty against Bayern, Solanke was just 14 years old.

    He would have been in Year 9 at school.

    Two-and-a-half years later, he is now calling Drogba a teammate. 

Dominic Solanke Is a Goal Machine

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    Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images

    Dominic Solanke may not have scored on his Chelsea debut against Maribor, but if his stats from the youth team are anything to go by, we'll be seeing much more of him in the future.

    In 26 appearances last season, the 17-year-old scored 20 goals—an excellent return.

    It's a stat made all the more impressive when considering he was playing above his age group.

    Solanke started the campaign as a 15-year-old and still had to complete his last year of school. Players do not become full-time scholars until they have taken their GCSEs, but Solanke is a special talent and was fast-tracked to the under-18s despite his youth.

    The club and player got their reward, with Solanke scoring vital goals, including a brace in the FA Youth Cup final that sealed victory over Fulham

He's Been Friends with John Terry Since His Youth

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    Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press

    Being a young player coming through at Chelsea, Dominic Solanke would have been rubbing shoulders with elite players for some time.

    Well, it seems he's been rubbing shoulders with club captain John Terry for even longer.

    After Solanke's debut on Tuesday, John Terry took to Instagram to post a picture of him and Solanke together.

    We know Solanke is young enough as it is, but he looks even more youthful in the shot below.

    John Terry on Instagram pic.twitter.com/3J7g2PMjuw

    — 101 Great Goals (@101greatgoals) October 21, 2014 

He Is Chelsea's Youngest Ever Debutant in the Champions League

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    Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

    At 17 years and 38 days old, Dominic Solanke is Chelsea's youngest ever debutant in the Champions League.

    He takes over from midfielder Josh McEachran, who was 17 years and 198 days old when he made his debut against MSK Zilina in September 2010.

    *All stats courtesy of Paul Dutton, Chelsea FC Official Statistician

    Vote for Garry Hayes as the best established football writer in the 2014 Football Blogging Awards: http://bit.ly/VoteGDH

    Garry Hayes is Bleacher Report's lead Chelsea correspondent. All quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Follow him on Twitter @garryhayes

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