Ahead of our game against Wolves in-form Tammy Abraham speaks exclusively to the official Chelsea website about a busy period of match action coming up, how his previous Premier League experiences have shaped him into the man he is today, and what it's like learning off the best…
Self-belief, hard work and a striker’s instinct has got Tammy Abraham to where he is now - leading the line for his boyhood Blues. He has scored twice in each of our last two games, against Norwich and Sheffield United, and will be hoping to add to his burgeoning Chelsea tally at Molineux later today.
Time spent out on loan has also played a key part in Abraham’s development. His goal-laden spells at Bristol City and Aston Villa caught the eye, but it is easy to forget he also appeared 31 times in the Premier League for Swansea the season before last. Abraham’s experiences in Wales have stood him in good stead for the task of spearheading the Chelsea attack, even if he admits there is a ‘massive difference’ between the two tasks.
‘It was a good learning curve going to a team like Swansea,’ Abraham tells the official Chelsea website after a gym session at Cobham earlier this week.
‘We didn’t create a lot of chances and we weren’t on the ball as much. With Chelsea growing up in the Academy I was used to winning things, scoring a load of goals, but at Swansea I learned the other side to football in the Premier League. It made me into a man even quicker.
‘At Chelsea if we are not on the ball for the majority of the game then we can count it as a disappointment. I’m playing with so many quality players here, some of the best players in the world. I get to learn off them and train with them every day, so it’s nice to be in this environment.
‘I have always been a player who has confidence in myself,’ adds Tammy when we ask if the weight of expectation at Chelsea is greater.
‘I use the pressure to drive me and inspire me. Going into the games I think it drives me even more: I want to do well for myself, my team-mates, my family and all the fans.’
Today’s visit to Molineux is the first of seven games in 26 games prior to the next international break. Abraham points out another facet of the game his loan experiences have helped him with: adapting to playing regularly. The Championship squeezes in an extra eight league games compared to the top flight, and then there is the possibility of play-off matches, too, something the 21-year-old knows well after Villa’s recent promotion via that route.
What Tammy is yet to sample is the Champions League. That could all change when Valencia visit on Tuesday.
‘I was actually mentioning this to my Dad earlier this week. As a young boy growing up I would watch the Champions League every week, so to now have the chance to play in it is a dream come true.
‘I can’t wait to get it started. In the sessions leading up to the game I am going to have that buzz which I will need to take into the games.’
But before he can turn his attention to the prospect of a debut in European football, a testing trip to the Black Country awaits. Wolves enjoyed a campaign to remember on their return to the Premier League, including a victory over us at Molineux, and in January they were heavily linked with signing Abraham to bolster their attacking options.
‘There were a couple of things I was hearing last January about the Wolves move, but I’m pleased to be here now and I can’t wait to get out there,’ says Tammy.
‘It has felt like years since our last game! I am used to being away with England at the younger age groups, the Under-21s most recently, so it’s been a bit different being here.
‘I think when you go away you don’t realise how long the international break is, but training has been good quality with good intensity. A couple of the boys have come back into training, and now we just can’t wait to get back out there and hit the ground running.’