Fikayo Tomori has signed a new five-year Chelsea contract and the young defender sat down soon after with the official Chelsea website to discuss his new deal, the importance of working with familiar faces and how he is trying to reach new levels.
The 21-year-old put pen to paper at Stamford Bridge to commit himself to the Blues until at least 2024 and then reflected on the achievement, claiming his boyhood club was the perfect place for him to continue developing and to win trophies.Read – Fikayo Tomori signs new Chelsea contractSince returning from a successful loan spell working under Frank Lampard at Derby County last season, the youngster has become an important part of the senior setup in SW6, featuring 16 times already in all competitions in 2019/20. However, before addressing his increasing role in the side, Tomori started our exclusive interview by reacting to his contract extension.
Fikayo, congratulations on signing a new contract at Chelsea! How does it feel?
'The club has shown a lot of faith in me, given me a lot of good times and I’ve experienced a lot of things so I just want to experience even more now.‘It fills me with a lot of confidence going into the rest of the season. I think I’ve been playing pretty well so far this season so for the club to reward me with a new contract is a great confidence-booster and I just want to repay that on the pitch now.’
You worked with Frank, Jody Morris and Chris Jones at Derby last season, as well as Joe Edwards for many years in the Academy here at Chelsea. How important has it been to have people around who know you so well?‘It just makes you very excited because there’s some familiar faces around that know the kind of person you are. Being with the gaffer, Jody and Chris Jones last season made it a lot easier for me to transition into a different level of football.‘This season so far has been good in terms of that and I’ve just tried to continually raise my levels, keep my standards high and the coaches have been on top of that with me as well.’
How did it feel when you were told in pre-season that you would be staying as part of the squad this season?
‘I remember the moment Frank told me. At that point in time, I was just waiting to see what would happen and once the manager told me that he wanted me to stay, then it was all about working hard, training as hard as possible and trying to get my place in the team.‘He put me in against Sheffield United for my full debut and since then he’s shown a lot of faith in me.’
As well as familiar faces among the coaching staff, you’re also now sharing a dressing room with fellow Academy graduates who you’ve grown up alongside at Cobham. How much do you help each other?‘For myself, Mason [Mount] and Reece [James], this is our first season in the Premier League so for us to experience this together is really special. It’s a big step up because there’s a lot more scrutiny and a lot more praise so we’re working things out as we go along. We talk to each other about different games and different opponents.‘Tammy [Abraham] and Callum [Hudson-Odoi] have played in the Premier League before so they have that experience where they’ve been there but they’re still learning in the same kind of way. We’re just supporting each other a lot, we help each other and you can see that we have a great friendship off the pitch as well.’
How important is it for your learning as a young defender to train every day with team-mates who are senior internationals and have plenty of experience at the top of the game?‘You pick up little things. The one thing that I’ve noticed is the concentration levels and the high standards that they all try to maintain.‘They want to be at the top of their game all the time and that’s ultimately the level I want to get to so being around it motivates me to reach those levels as soon as possible.’
You have developed a habit of being a serial winner of silverware over the years, from the FA Youth Cup and UEFA Youth League to promotion with Brighton & Hove Albion and international success. Does that winning mentality bode well for the future?‘Being used to winning is a good thing because once you get a taste of it, you just want to keep on going. I’ve grown up watching Chelsea win the Champions League, the Premier League, the FA Cup, all these trophies. It’s in the DNA of the club and we want to continue that.‘We want to play in the big games in the big stadiums and win trophies. So far, we’ve put ourselves in a good position to achieve those goals. We know that there will be bumps in the road but we just want to keep on improving as a team and individually as well so that, come crunch time at the end of the season, we can be competing for something.’
In the short-term, we’re about to begin a busy fixture period over the festive season. How much are you looking forward to the hustle and bustle of the winter schedule?‘It’s exciting because this is where the league gets a bit tasty and teams drop points. English football is renowned for the Christmas period so we just want to continue our form, try to improve on our recent results and get things back to where they were before the international break when we won six games on the bounce.’
This new deal will take you close to 20 years as a Chelsea player so what do you want to achieve over that length of time?‘Trophies and winning is what it’s all about. You want to look back on your career and see that you’ve won things and had good memories.‘Personally, I just want to be as great as I can. I want to play well, win trophies and become a legend at this club so having this five-year contract gives me time to hopefully do that.’