Chelsea's number nine has been discussing the possibility of being England's number nine ahead of this summer's Euro 2020 finals...
With only five months to go until the start of Euro 2020 and with a strong cohort of Englishmen within the Chelsea ranks hoping to make Gareth Southgate’s squad, it is not surprising that talk is starting to turn towards the summer tournament and how many of our Three Lions could feature.
On Saturday afternoon in victory over Burnley, five of the Blues’ starting 11 were England senior or Under-21 internationals, with Fikayo Tomori a sixth on the bench and Ruben Loftus-Cheek still out injured.
All of them will harbour ambitions to feature at the finals, with all three of England’s group games plus the semi-finals and final set to be held in the capital at Wembley. For Tammy Abraham, the England focus has sharpened even more since the hamstring injured suffered by Harry Kane last month.
The 22-year-old scored his 13th Premier League goal of the season at the weekend, a milestone that means the only Englishman to have scored more for the club in a single league campaign is his boss, Frank Lampard.
It would be impossible for someone as confident and ambitious as Abraham not to be glancing ahead slightly to the Euros, though he knows there is plenty of competition for places in the squad and much more work to do for his club first.
‘Of course I look up to Harry Kane and I’m gutted he’s injured but hopefully he’ll be back for the Euros,’ said Abraham.
‘There is an opportunity and that’s the world of football but there’s a load of competition as well. I look across the board and see Marcus Rashford, Danny Ings, a lot of strikers scoring goals.
‘Jamie Vardy is another talented striker, he has an eye for goal and he’s one of the players I’ve grown up loving. I’ve got to steal his ideas and make them my own but if he comes back [from international retirement], then he comes back. Hopefully I’ll still be there either way.
‘I’m always ambitious and it’s always at the back of my mind. Growing up, I always wanted to play for England and now I have the opportunity so I’ll try to grab it with two hands. There’s probably more pressure being Chelsea’s number nine but I’m enjoying myself and I just have to keep doing that.
‘It’s about staying focused on Chelsea, going out there every game and doing my best, getting the wins and then I can focus on the summer with England.’
Reece James is the only one of the aforementioned seven Englishmen yet to win a senior cap for the national team, though his recent performances in blue will certainly have caught the eye. While Southgate is blessed with a healthy stock of right-backs at this moment in time, Abraham believes his fellow Chelsea Academy graduate possesses all the tools to reach the top.
‘He was fantastic, our man of the match against Burnley,’ the striker continued. ‘He defended well, attacked well and I could have scored another from one of his crosses.
‘I always know where he’s putting the ball because we talk about it in training and every day in the changing room he sits beside me. I’m sure he’ll be a bit mad that I didn’t get him more assists but I’ve just got to be in the right places at the right time.
‘I believe in him and the players believe in him as well. As long as he keeps performing, he’ll be knocking on the door of Gareth Southgate.’
Yet international football remains on pause until March and there are plenty of tough challenges for the Blues before then, including a run of home matches that next sees us host Arsenal, Manchester United, Tottenham and Bayern Munich.
‘We have to make the stadium rock,’ claimed Abraham as he pinpointed making Stamford Bridge a fortress again as particularly key to our chances of success.
‘We’ve got tough games coming up but I’m always confident that we can go out and enjoy ourselves. A lot of people say the fans are quiet but they want to come and watch beautiful football. Recently in our home games, we haven’t been doing that but you could see against Burnley that we were playing beautiful and the fans were behind us.’