Tammy Abraham believes there is no better time for him and the other young players in the squad to make their mark at Chelsea under new boss Frank Lampard.
The striker missed Friday’s friendly against Kawasaki Frontale with tonsillitis but is fully fit again and determined to impress with the Blues this season having spent the past three years out on loan. He was prolific in the Championship with Bristol City, in 2016/17, and Aston Villa, who he helped get promoted in May. Between those campaigns Abraham played regularly in the Premier League for the first time with Swansea, but now his focus on solely on Stamford Bridge and the prospect of competing for a berth up front.
‘I am more ready than ever for the season to start,’ the 21-year-old stressed.
‘I had a good season last season, and now I am here at the club I have always dreamed of playing for. I just have to take my chance.
‘Being here since the age of six there is no better opportunity to try and graft and work hard for a place in the team. With the new manager in charge all things are looking possible, so it gives the young lads and a lot of the players a good chance to believe.
‘It’s always nice to have a manager that keeps in contact with not just the senior players but the young players as well, so it’s a massive opportunity for us.
‘I have just got to work hard in training,’ added Abraham. ‘The manager has told me what he likes and what he wants me to continue doing, and improve the other side of my game as well.
‘He knows I can score goals and I have got the speed, and the defensive side I need to work hard at for the team. Whenever I get that chance on the pitch and the training pitch I have to grab it with two hands.’
Thus far in pre-season Lampard has utilised 4-2-3-1 and 4-4-2 formations, giving scope to the possibility of starting two up front. Olivier Giroud and Michy Batshuayi are the other strikers in the squad currently and Abraham is relishing the opportunity to vie for a place in the team with them.
‘It’s nice to have that competition with people you look up to. I have grown up watching players like Olivier Giroud, so it’s nice to see be in the same team as him.
‘I like pressure. It drives me on. I have had pressure wherever I’ve been. Having competition such as Olivier Giroud and Michy Batshuayi is fantastic. I’m only striving to be better.
‘I want to achieve everything possible. The sky’s the limit. Being at a top club like Chelsea you’re in big competitions, so hopefully I can get my hands on a couple of trophies at Chelsea too.’
Since returning to the club, Lampard has made it clear young players at Chelsea will be given chances if they can prove their worth to him. Abraham, Mason Mount, Kasey Palmer and Fikayo Tomori have all featured in pre-season, and the man who made his Chelsea debut at Anfield in May 2016 has thoroughly enjoyed being on tour with Academy graduates he has known for so long.
‘We have got a young and mixed team. It’s nice for the new players, [Christian] Pulisic has come in and settled very quickly. It’s nice for all of us to understand each other. A couple of players were out on loan last season, we are all coming back as a team now.
‘In training you see us bonding and spending time together. It’s nice to have the young crowd around you. If one of us is having a tough day another brings him up. There are great leaders in the senior lads but it’s nice to have a couple of mates around you who lift you up as well.’