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Tammy Abraham, announce greatness

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Tammy Abraham could be the long-awaited beacon of light in Chelsea’s wasteland of youth development

England v Bosnia - UEFA European U21 Championship Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images

Few players, if any, have had a more remarkable first two months to their season than 19-year-old striker Tammy Abraham. On loan at Championship side Bristol City, the Chelsea loanee has seized his opportunity emphatically with a near-perfect start to the season.

The England U21 goal-machine has scored 13 goals in 16 appearances for club and country this season, a statistic that is even more impressive when considering that this is his first season in senior professional football.

Abraham’s quality is indisputable and has been evident since his days in the Chelsea Academy, where he scored 72 goals in 101 appearances. His goal-scoring excellence translated into considerable success: he has two FA Youth Cups and two UEFA Youth League medals to his name.

The goals have continued to pour in despite the step up to the professional leagues, and it’s been these performances at Bristol City that have prompted extensive coverage and infectious praise for Chelsea’s budding talent.

In 14 appearances for the Robins, Abraham has successfully found the net on 11 occasions. In the Championship alone, his form has been equally impressive with a league high 8 goals in 11 appearances — his accuracy (63% of his 19 shots have been on target) and conversion ratio (42%) are out of this world. Bristol’s shining light is currently averaging a goal every 107 minutes in the Championship while also registering two assists.

The 19-year-old’s adaptation from youth football to senior level has been seamless, and he is demonstrating maturity far beyond his years. In one of the most exacting leagues in world football — especially from a physical perspective — Abraham is thriving and testifying his credentials as a prized Chelsea asset.

His awe-inspiring start to the season has resulted in Abraham’s first call-up and first minutes for England’s under-21 side. Unsurprisingly, he excelled effortlessly, scoring a brace in his first start against Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The next logical step now is to get ahead of ourselves and burden Abraham with undue expectations.

When discussing Chelsea greats, particularly in the attacking department, it is difficult to look beyond Didier Drogba. A center forward who won everything at the club, he will forever be one of the greatest players to have ever graced the Premier League. Yet, in his first full season of senior football, Drogba scored just 7 goals in 32 league games in the second tier of French football for Les Mans. Drogba was 21 at the time, so despite being two years younger, Abraham has already surpassed the Ivorian’s goal tally in his first full season of club football, and in just a third of the games!

Obviously, this doesn’t mean that Abraham is preordained for success or that he’ll manage to emulate the tremendous success achieved by Didier Drogba, but it is a valid indicator of just how well Abraham is doing in his first full season. In fact, Abraham’s goals total already outweighs the totals achieved by several Chelsea icons in their first full seasons, including Eidur Gudjohsnen, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and even the King of Stamford Bridge himself, Peter Osgood.

Abraham has found a compelling response to every challenge, regardless of enormity, faced so far in his career. Both on and off the pitch, he seems to have the required characteristics for success. Nonetheless, his chances for a prosperous career could be tainted by factors beyond his remit. There is the propensity for the British Media to engulf a rising star with unwarranted attention. There is the propensity for fans and managers and pundits to burden him with unreasonable expectations. And there is the wretched history of youth development and the quagmire of the loan system at Chelsea. But if Abraham can maintain his form, if he can break the mould and become the one long-awaited anomaly of Chelsea youth development, there’s undoubted greatness to be had for many years to come. Chelsea must harness his talents correctly to reap the benefits of his magnificence.