Football

Abraham, Tomori earn England call-ups ahead of European qualifiers

Chelsea pair, Tammy Abraham and Fikayo Tomori, have earned call-ups for the European Qualifiers against the Czech Republic and Bulgaria.

Despite having earned two senior England caps in friendlies with Germany and Brazil in November 2017, Abraham is still eligible to play for Nigeria. His inclusion in the squad seems to pledge his allegiance to England.

The Chelsea striker has seven goals in as many Premier League appearances this season, just one less than top scorer Sergio Aguero, and scored his first Champions League goal on his 22nd birthday on Wednesday.

Southgate said: “He is the leading English goalscorer in the league. He is a player that we put into the squad very young at a time when we wanted to have a look at some younger players and change the complexion of what we were doing.

“It was a bit early for him and now it is brilliant the opportunity he has been given by Frank (Lampard) along with some of the other young English players at Chelsea, it has been fabulous for them.

“He has really grasped this opportunity, it is thoroughly deserved.”

Tomori is enjoying a successful breakthrough season at Chelsea, following a loan spell at Derby alongside Mason Mount under manager Frank Lampard.

The 21-year-old has made four Premier League and two Champions League starts for Chelsea and scored his first goal with a spectacular strike in a 5-2 win at Wolves in September.

The Canadian-born defender, who is also eligible to play for Nigeria has previously featured for his country of birth at U20 level but has since gone on to earn 15 caps for England U20s, winning the World Cup in 2017, and 15 caps for the U21s.

Southgate said: “His profile as a defender fits with the way that international football is. His athleticism is important, he is capable with the ball. It’s a good opportunity for us to take a closer look at him.

“He is in good form so he’ll be feeling confident about himself. He’s played very well for Chelsea against some very good opponents. It’s a great opportunity for him.”

The manager further commented, “I don’t think it’s ethically right to select someone just to make sure he can’t play for somebody else.

Fik and Tammy are in on merit. They’ve both been part of our youth system. Fik came in a bit later but he was part of the team that won the [Under-17] World Cup – as far as we’re concerned they’re English players.”

England squad in full: Goalkeepers: Tom Heaton (Aston Villa), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Nick Pope (Burnley)

Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Ben Chilwell (Leicester), Joe Gomez (Liverpool), Michael Keane (Everton), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa), Danny Rose (Tottenham), Fikayo Tomori (Chelsea) Kieran Trippier (Atletico Madrid)

Midfielders: Ross Barkley (Chelsea), Fabian Delph (Everton), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), James Maddison (Leicester), Mason Mount (Chelsea), Declan Rice (West Ham), Harry Winks (Tottenham)

Forwards: Tammy Abraham (Chelsea) Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Callum Wilson (Bournemouth).

Meanwhile, the Chelsea top striker has continued to fuel rumours of a switch to represent Nigeria at senior international level.  He has now revealed that he is still undecided whether to represent England or Nigeria in international football.

Indeed, the red-hot Tammy Abraham was said to have chosen England over Nigeria. However, he has now come out to state that he remains in two minds over which country to represent.

“I love both nations. To be wanted by both nations, clearly I’m doing something right on the pitch for Chelsea. I just have to keep going. My time will come.

“I’m not sure, I haven’t made a decision yet. I’m just focusing on the club now.”

This latest declaration is bound to crank up the speculations around Tammy Abraham a notch. However, reservations have been expressed in some quarters in Nigeria over the continued media circus around his allegiance. Some Nigerian football watchers feel the Three Lions are using the links with Nigeria as a bait to put pressure on Tammy Abraham to switch to England.

Nevertheless, the prolific striker has reiterated his pride in his African and Nigerian heritage. Furthermore, he disclosed that his heritage remains a major part of his life, despite being born in London.

Further adding to talks of a potential switch to the Super Eagles is the fact that his father is close to the Amaju Pinnick. Equally important, Pinnick is the current Chairman of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).  Also, Pinnick has not hidden his desire to see the striker don the famous green and white of the Super Eagles.

Meanwhile, Tammy Abraham has also described Nigeria as a massive country.

“I’ve grown up in an area with a lot of African culture and African background. Even in the changing room nowadays, we play Afrobeats and all sorts. So you’re fully aware that Nigeria is a massive country. It’s global.”

The prodigious Chelsea striker has hit a rich vein of form in the Premier League this season.

He has bagged seven goals which has catapulted him to the top of the pile as the most prolific English forward in the league. His seven goals see him tie with the Arsenal forward, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and one behind Manchester City striker, Sergio Aguero.

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