STALYBRIDGE Celtic’s Joshua Soloman-Davies says there is no better feeling than playing international football.
“It hits home and make you feel proud when the national anthem is played before kick off,” explained the 19-year-old who recently played for St Lucia in the North and Central America Concacaf Under-20s Championships.
Soloman-Davies was away for one month for the tournament that was held at Bradenton, Florida, between November 1-21.
It was a tournament of contrasting fortunes for St Lucia, one of the tournament’s minnows, as they had two wins and two defeats in their group games.
They opened up with a 1-0 loss to Haiti, beat Barbados 2-1 and Bermuda 1-0 before suffering a hefty 6-0 defeat to Costa Rica in their last game.
The tournament was won by hosts United States who defeated Mexico in the final.
It was a great experience for Solomon-Davies who appeared in the same U20s event two years ago aged 16 when it was held in Curacao.
Solomon-Davies said: “Most of our players were St Lucia apart from myself and a couple who are at college in the United States.
“Most of the Costa Rica footballers played in their Premier League or out of the country and three of the Haiti team are playing in the MLS in the United States.”
Solomon-Davies was born in St Lucia where he lived until the age of six when the family moved to the Wirral – his father is English.
Celtic manager Simon Haworth believes Solomon-Davies has returned home a better player.
“Josh was fitter and sharper on his return which is down to playing tournament football and a lot of games in a short period of time,” explained Haworth.
Solomon-Davies was signed by Celtic on non-contract forms in September after he turned down a new deal at Tranmere Rovers who retain his registration. He made two appearances for the Wirral club in National League.
He has been Celtic’s right back but can play anywhere on the right and a footballer with pace and power.
“I am enjoying my time with Celtic. It is important for my development to be playing men’s football and for three points each week,” he said.
Solomon-Davies was also a talented athlete, a national U16s schoolboy 100m sprint champion clocking 11 seconds.
Haworth believes Solomon-Davies’ athletics career probably hadn’t helped his football as he has been prone to picking up muscle injuries that affect sprinters.
He said: “Josh is quick, strong and has great ability, but the challenge is to replicate it week in, week out and put together a run of 20 unbroken games.
“He has played in National League and he is probably currently at a level between us and Tranmere who are in League Two.”