Tammy Abraham: Jose Mourinho and Gareth Southgate back their man, as Roma star targets World Cup

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England haven’t taken an overseas-based player to the World Cup since David Beckham and Owen Hargreaves in 2006.

Now three members of Gareth Southgate’s Nations League squad – Tammy Abraham, Fikayo Tomori and Jude Bellingham – are hoping to change that in Qatar.

Abraham scored 27 goals and won the Europa Conference League title under Jose Mourinho with Roma last season and reveals growing curiosity among Premier League stars about what it’s like to play abroad .

The 24-year-old former Chelsea striker is living proof that he can improve your game.

Tammy Abraham (pictured) has opened up on life under Jose Mourinho and Gareth Southgate

Roma and England star trains with Southgate side for June Nations League games

Roma and England star trains with Southgate side for June Nations League games

“Yes, a few English players have asked me about it. I had a lot of questions and told them the positives,” says Abraham.

‘It’s hard to change countries and learning a language is never easy but when it’s good, it’s good. I would like to believe that I improved technically.

“I’ve always been a goalscorer, but in Italy I had to work on different aspects; hold-ups, beat players.

“I found out myself that I’m good at it, so let’s work on it more.” Playing regularly and in some big matches gets you picking up stuff.

Abraham’s form has seen him overtake Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Ollie Watkins and others to become Harry Kane’s main understudy.

Barring injury or an unexpected drop in form, his job at the World Cup will be that of a sidekick but he must be ready just in case – as Geoff Hurst was in 1966 when replacing Jimmy Greaves. Abraham experienced this understudy role at Chelsea.

The 24-year-old has enjoyed a stellar season, scoring 27 goals for Roma after leaving Chelsea

The 24-year-old has enjoyed a stellar season, scoring 27 goals for Roma after leaving Chelsea

Abraham is set to replace first-choice striker Harry Kane (left) at the World Cup

Abraham is set to replace first-choice striker Harry Kane (left) at the World Cup

It also helps that he has great respect for Kane. While Kane was loaned out by Tottenham at Leyton Orient and Millwall before hitting it big, Abraham was relegated to Swansea and had loan spells in the Championship with Bristol City and Aston Villa.

“Harry is probably the best striker in the world and it’s not just me talking about watching him on TV, it’s about training and playing with him.” Then you can see everything,” adds Abraham.

“The ball can bounce to him when we practice from set pieces and he just hits it in the top corner. He also had a trip, went through loans like I had good and bad, and he is who he is because of it.

“We want Harry to smash the England goalscoring record and we are always here to support him. I learned that at Chelsea, every time I was second or third choice.

“We won the Champions League but it wasn’t me who scored. I wasn’t even on the pitch. Sometimes you have to accept those moments – it won’t always be you, it’s about help as much as possible.

He revealed Three Lions boss Southgate (above) has good people management skills, like Jose

He revealed Three Lions boss Southgate (above) has good people management skills, like Jose

“For me, the one who scores at the World Cup, I buzz – I celebrate like it’s me. And every time I have a chance, I just try to grab it with both hands and show what I’m done.

Abraham’s career in England has been slow so far. He made his debut against Germany – also England’s opponents on Tuesday – almost five years ago and has scored three goals in 10 appearances.

Playing for Mourinho and Gareth Southgate may seem like polar opposites, but Abraham feels they have more in common than outsiders would expect.

“I think they have a lot of similarities. The most important thing is player management,” he says.

‘Gareth and Jose, Jose when he is happy their player management is good. They talk to players on and off the pitch. I’m still getting messages from Jose now, about how camp is going, how my family is doing, vacations planned.

“With Gareth, when I was going through a tough time last season at Chelsea, he was texting me, calling me, asking about my mental health, how I was coping. It’s good to have that support. Mourinho even speaks to him in Italian.

For a long time England players as a group were considered too insular to succeed.

Southgate are lucky this time to have Bellingham tearing up the Bundesliga with Dortmund, Tomori winning a Serie A title with Milan and Abraham finishing fourth in the Italian goalscoring charts.

“I had never been to Rome before, even on vacation,” says the striker. “I’ve lived in London all my life, so it’s good to embrace something different. I’m learning new things every day. It was great.


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