Israel’s up and coming star Manor Solomon will take to the pitch at against Scotland at Hampden Park for the second time in as many months as Israel will look to advance to the European Championship Playoff Final.
Just before the decisive match, the 21-year old attacking midfielder spoke about an array of topics from young players gong aboard to hone their skills to playing with the Blue & White and continuing at his current club team, Shakhtar Donetsk after their had been numerous rumors that he would be sold ahead of the transfer deadline.
“I’m not disappointed at all to stay with Shakhtar Donetsk.I arrived at the club a year and half ago and everyone can see that I have continued to develop. It’s a big club that plays every year in the UEFA Champions League and you were able to see what type of team we were last season. At some point I will move to a bigger club as that is something common at Shakhtar. Perhaps it will happen in 1-2 years, you never know.”
Over the weekend there was an outbreak of COVID-19 at the Ukrainian club, but thankfully it looks like the Kfar Saba dodged the bullet, “The coronavirus infected some people at Shakhtar just a few days ago. It’s a tough situation and not easy. But everyone is careful and are following the regulations that are in place.
“We were a bit hysterical about they situation and I was afraid that I may have to miss the match against Scotland. I had to take a test on Monday and once I was negative I was able to fly here taking three flights, it was crazy.”
Solomon of course is proud to be able to contribute to his country on the field of play, fulfilling a dream while also trying to live up to the expectations, “I always dreamed to be an integral part of the National Team and I am happy that this has become a reality. I’m happy that there are expectations for me because I enjoy having them. Every player wants there to be expectations because that means you’re doing things properly. I am just at the beginning of my career.”
Playing various positions is certainly a challenge for the 2-time Ukrainian league champion, but he’s do what’s needed to be done in order to help the National Team, “It’s important that I have more opportunities on the attack and that I can improve my final pass on a play as that wasn’t the case in the last two matches. It was difficult for me to play in the middle because it’s a bit different than I was used to but I am working on learning how to play that position and help the team as best as I can.”
Although Solomon has made 10 appearances with Israel, he still has yet to find the back of the goal, “I still haven’t scored with the National Team and that’s something that is bothering me. I really hope that I can score in the game against Scotland. It would be an amazing feeling and I pray to God that it will happen.”
After playing with Maccabi Petah Tikva, Solomon was able to make the move abroad and he hopes that other younger players can do the same, “I hope that more youngsters from Israel get the opportunity to play abroad but many teams won’t pay a lot for them and there is also the issue of the army so it’s not that simple. I am happy that I had the chance to play outside of Israel and if more younger players could do the same, then that will improve Israeli football.”
Solomon certainly feels that Israel has a good chance to defeat the Tartan Army and expressed guarded optimism ahead of the clash, “Scotland may play a different style than last game and with more motivation as it’s a much more important game. We have to concentrate on ourselves first and try to win. I believe in the team and in a one game playoff anything can happen as we have seen in the past. They may be a slight favorite because they are at home but that doesn’t guarantee anything.”
However, some of Solomon’s teammates won’t be available due to being sidelined with the coronavirus, but that doesn’t mean the squad won’t be able to perform to the best of its abilities, “It’s too bad that we will be missing players due to the coronavirus but that is the difficult situation around the world right now. We will have to learn how to live with it for now. We know what we can do and we’ve been able to see that in previous games and we’ll do what we need to in order to win the game.