Former Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood has lauded Tammy Abraham for rising above Chelsea’s “mercenary” striker policy and breaking into the first team at Stamford Bridge.
Having spent three productive loan spells away from Chelsea at Bristol City, Swansea City and Aston Villa respectively, Abraham is now making considerable noise in the Blues starting XI.
What is Chelsea’s “mercenary” striker policy? Five things to know…
- Chelsea have struggled to find a consistent No 9 since Diego Costa left the club in January 2018.
- Since then they have brought in Olivier Giroud and Gonzalo Higuain, while Alvaro Morata was already at the club.
- Despite Morata’s early form and Giroud’s Europa League exploits, all three struggled in the Premier League.
- Morata has since joined Costa at Atletico Madrid, while Higuain has returned to Juventus.
- Giroud remains at the club, but continues to play a peripheral role as Lampard has seemingly entrusted Abraham with the starting berth.
In four Premier League matches this season the England international has bagged four goals, including consecutive braces, and looks set to play a prominent role for Frank Lampard this term.
As such, Sherwood has criticised Chelsea’s transfer strategy of continuously recycling “mercenary” strikers before finally giving an academy product a chance.
Speaking on Sky Sports’ The Debate, he said: “I like what Tammy Abraham has done, he’s never sat on his backside and been happy just picking up youth cups at Chelsea, with the perfect training ground and being in a position where he can just say ‘I’m a Chelsea player’.
“No, he’s gone out there and played.
“He’s gone to Bristol City, he’s gone to Villa, he’s always stepped up, he’s always ticked the box, and now by default he’s been given an opportunity to play for Chelsea because of the transfer ban.
“But how many No 9s did Chelsea have to bring in, and fail, before Abraham was given his opportunity? He looks like he is the real deal now, you cut him in half and he bleeds blue.
“The kid loves the football club. He means more than those mercenaries who they bring in and are there just for the money.”
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Abraham committed to England despite Nigeria pressure
Despite being omitted from Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the nation’s upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers this month, and attempts from Amaju Pinnick, the Nigeria Football Federation president, to convince Abraham to switch allegiances, it is believed the Chelsea striker will remain committed to the Three Lions.
Abraham, born in London, already has two England caps to his name, but having not played a competitive match for the nation, he still has the option of representing the birthplace of his father.
His last appearance for the Three Lions came in 2017 during friendlies against Germany and Brazil, while Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford and Callum Wilson remain ahead of him in the international pecking order.
However, Southgate has already hinted that Abraham is set to be involved with the England set-up sooner rather than later, telling reporters last week: “Tammy is one of a number of players who have either started the season well or we know well from our junior teams.
“This squad can look different over the next months.”