For most Nigerians especially football lovers and followers who had wanted Tammy Abraham, the Chelsea youngster to play for Nigeria rather than England, well the young chap has made his choice by dumping Nigeria for England, his colonial masters. As if that was not enough, he told SportsMail in an interview, that he would always choose England over Nigeria any time any day.
Tammy Abraham insists his international dream has always been to represent England.
The Chelsea striker is in line for his competitive England debut in the Euro2010 qualifiers against the Czech Republic and Bulgaria having been given an international recall by England manager Gareth Southgate last week.
Nigeria have tried desperately to persuade Abraham to play for them – and the striker had initially refused to publicly state which country he wanted to play for. But following his Southgate call-up, Abraham has confessed his first-choice option has always been to represent England. Abraham, who has scored nine times already this season, has two friendly caps for England, but will be fully committed for the rest of his career if he features against either Czech Republic or Bulgaria because they are competitive fixtures. And Abraham said: ‘For me, it’s always nice to be wanted by two nations. Clearly it means you’re doing something well.
‘At the back of my head, I’ve always wanted to play for England. I was born and grown in England. My dream was always to play for England. It doesn’t affect the fact Nigeria still wanted me, and it’s a big nation. I love both nations. My head was just screwed on with England. ‘I’m here and I’m ready to stay. I want to do the best I can. That means playing well, for club and country. ‘Just hopefully I can get many years experience under my belt for England.’ Despite his brilliant start to the season, Abraham will almost certainly start both qualifiers on the bench given captain Harry Kane is England’s undisputed No 1 striker.
But the 22-year-old hopes Kane’s magic will rub off on him. The striker said: ‘I can learn from Harry; I’ve come here to steal his ideas. Harry Kane is one of the best strikers in the world. I’ve come to learn the other parts of his game and add it to my game as well. ‘You see his finishing, left foot, right foot, I just want to take that into my game. So, when I go back I can work on myself and practice. Harry’s someone I’ve grown up watching. ‘For me he’s the best striker in the world. I was always excited to come here, to watch him train, to train with him, and hopefully maybe play with him as well. He’s always going to be my idol.
‘I’m here to stay, to do well, the best I can, I’m here because right now I’m doing so well, top goalscorer in the league. Hopefully I’ll get my chance and take it.’ Abraham’s route to becoming Chelsea’s main man has been a route of various twists and turns. A season-long loan spell at Championship side Bristol City in 2016 went swimmingly, as he scored 26 goals for the club. The following season his loan spell at Swansea — who were in the Premier League at the time — started promisingly as he scored four goals in his opening nine top-flight games.
But he didn’t score another Premier League game until April as the Swans were relegated to raise doubts over his top-level capabilities. But Abraham rediscovered his goalscoring form last season, notching 26 goals as Aston Villa secured promotion to the Premier League. ‘For me, those loan spells were good spells for me,’ said Abraham. ‘To go out and understand. I’ve had loans where I’ve gone out and seen the real world, especially with Swansea. ‘My first experience in the Premier League was quite tough. I learned about the other side of the football.
‘Not just winning games but losing them and not dominating possession. Just little things like that has turned me into a man. And I’ve taken it back to Chelsea. It’s still early doors. But I am happy with the way I’ve started. ‘I’ve had other experiences when I’ve gone out on loan again — back into the Championship, which wasn’t ideal for me at the time but brought a lot of positives. ‘Going back into the war zone, as they call it, I got to toughen up. Although I didn’t score as many goals at Swansea as I would have liked to, I got to enjoy football again and started scoring at Villa and then had a great end to the season. ‘I’ve always believed in myself, it’s still early. I’ve got to keep on trying to help the team.’