Chelsea’s newest call-up to the England squad, Fikayo Tomori, has been speaking about the dream news of being selected by Gareth Southgate for the first time and about committing himself to the Three Lions cause despite having other options.
Tammy Abraham’s inclusion in the squad last week for matches against Czech Republic and Bulgaria was widely predicted after his goalscoring start to the season, but the addition of Tomori, who has also been impressing for Chelsea this season but for a shorter time, came more out of the blue. The player himself certainly was not counting upon it.
‘I found out after the Lille game,’ Tomori revealed this week, talking at the England training camp.
‘The manager [Frank Lampard] came up to me and said, “You are going to be in the England squad tomorrow.”
‘I was sitting down at the time and I just sat there with Tammy and Mason smiling at me. It was a crazy feeling because I wasn't really expecting it, but I'm very happy.
‘I was not expecting at the beginning of the season to make the England squad,’ he added. ‘I've taken everything as it has come. This happened quite fast but it's been a good 12 months. I've been working hard, listening to people, trying to improve myself and it's going well.
‘It's a bit cliched but it is a dream,’ the 21-year-old said about the call-up. ‘Growing up in England and seeing the players playing at Wembley, it was such a good feeling. It's indescribable. It was a very proud moment.’
It is that affinity to England that seems to have settled Tomori’s ambitions now he knows he is wanted in the senior squad, despite also being qualified to represent Nigeria and Canada, the latter of whom he played for at Under-20 level. He has won England caps at junior levels too.
‘The call-up solidifies that,’ he said. ‘Being eligible to play for three countries was a good thing and a bad thing. I have just taken everything as it has come and once I got that call-up to England, there wasn't really a doubt in my mind that I was going to commit.
‘Being here now I just want to try and get my first cap and then try and get more after that as well.
‘Of course I'm an England fan. I grew up here and went to school here. To be part of this is a dream.’
Tomori went on to agree that Lampard’s trust in him has played a big part in elevating him to become an England squad player, beginning last season at Derby when his manager was prepared to give him games week in week out in a side challenging for a place in the Premier League.
‘It does take faith, and to keep playing me when the results weren’t good or I was not playing as well as I could, and helping me learn, is all I could ask.
‘Then coming to Chelsea this season, just because he was the manager it wasn't granted that I was going to come in. I still need to work hard and I'm still working hard to maintain high standards and stay in the team.’