Tammy Abraham’s move to Roma last year might have looked a risk and many felt it was better for him to stay in the Premier League.
How wrong they were. Not only has he shone on the pitch, winning a European trophy and scoring 27 goals, he has taken to the lifestyle off the pitch seamlessly.
Now speaking Italian, adored by the fans, and happy in the Italian capital, he’s become a certainty to be in Gareth Southgate’s World Cup squad for Qatar. DANNY MURPHY caught up with him after his latest call-up.
MURPHY: Buongiorno, Tam. Your first season with Roma couldn’t have gone better with 27 goals. It must give you confidence. Does it also change your outlook given the standards you’ve set?
ABRAHAM: There is something in me saying I want to do even better. As a character, that’s how I thrive. I look at Erling Haaland who is the most talked-about player in the world right now. I use it as a secret motivation, to try to reach that level, hit those targets. Other players’ success, that is what gets me going.
MURPHY: You’ve gone from being in and out at Chelsea to playing every week, the main man. It’s a change in status.
ABRAHAM: If you’d told me a couple of years ago I’d be playing in Italy, I wouldn’t have believed you. Leaving Chelsea was difficult, it’s where I’d grown up from the age of seven.
I didn’t know much about Italian football but it has helped me develop as a player and as a man. I’ve come out of my comfort zone and don’t have any regrets. I love the life and it’s brought out another side to my game.
At Chelsea, I was viewed purely as a goalscorer. Here, I’ve learned different aspects of the game. If our opponents have more of the ball, I know how to position myself defensively. You have to be more clinical finishing chances because they can be limited.
MURPHY: We glorify the Premier League as the best. How does it compare to Serie A?
ABRAHAM: They both have qualities that the other one doesn’t. Italian football is very tactical. Teams want to stop you from scoring as much as possible. I think they mainly focus on stopping goals which does make it harder for a striker of course.
One thing I had to learn quickly was how to win free-kicks. Holding the ball up when your team might need a breather, getting the cheap fouls as we would call them in England. Little things like that, I’ve added.
MURPHY: I’ve met your manager Jose Mourinho on a couple of occasions at events like Soccer Aid. I found him different to his image, he was quite jovial. You see the professional side of course.