Fikayo Tomori has said that he always had confidence in his ability to break into the senior side at Chelsea, admitting the pathway of one Blues legend acted as a motivation for him.
The defender has impressed in his breakthrough season at Stamford Bridge, featuring heavily under Frank Lampard at the start of this campaign before slipping out of the side of late due to a combination of injury and other players taking their opportunities.
Tomori remains confident he can force his way back into the side once the Premier League starts up again, following the postponement due to the coronavirus pandemic, and says that John Terry was the one player he looked up to when coming through the Academy ranks.
‘Obviously we had John Terry who had made that step from the Academy and he was the player I looked at when thinking of the pathway to the first team,’ explained Fikayo, when speaking to Rio Ferdinand for BT Sport last month.
‘The club has really developed since he broke in to where we are now, with a lot of Academy players involved.
‘In recent years we have seen a lot of players get close to that level but probably not have a sustained run in the side like the younger players have had this season.
‘So JT was the one we looked at as the inspiration that we could get a chance here at Chelsea, and that was always the motivation. Once you get there [playing for the senior team] the challenge then is to stay there, to keep your place and try to impress the manager.'
The defender spent last season on loan at Derby under Lampard and Jody Morris, with team-mate Mason Mount also joining him at Pride Park. The duo have since established themselves as key players for Chelsea this term and Fikayo has given a little insight as to why our head coach is such a good mentor for his young charges.
‘The manager has been great, certainly with me and the younger players,’ said Tomori. ‘He put his trust in us from day one, even earlier for me and Mason [Mount] because he took us on loan with him to Derby.
‘He has confidence to play the younger players if we are performing well in training, he gives us that opportunity and that’s massive.
‘I feel that I’m ready to come back in [and play] but I’m not knocking the manager’s door down or anything. I want to show him on the training ground with my performances and attitude and I trust the manager to decide when it is right for me to play. I’m still young, I’m still learning and it’s the football that does the talking.’