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Tomori credits hard work and faith from Lampard for England callup

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Big Fik read to don England colours

England Media Access Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Fikayo Tomori has been the silent yet most pleasantly surprising hero of Chelsea’s youth revolution this season. Though perhaps we shouldn’t be too surprised. The likes of Callum Hudson-Odoi, Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount may have dominated the headlines after Frank Lampard’s appointment as Chelsea head coach in June, but it was Tomori who came in as the Player of the Year at his previous (loan) club, Derby County.

Just like his rise at club level this season, an England call up so soon was also unexpected. But Tomori’s fine performances for Chelsea, as well as the possibility of England losing out on such a talented defender due to his eligibility for Canada as well as Nigeria, fast-tracked his selection by Gareth Southgate. Naturally, the 21-year-old is delighted to join up with the England senior team to face Czech Republic and Bulgaria.

“I found out after the Lille game. The manager [Frank Lampard] came up to me and said, ‘You are going to be in the England squad tomorrow.’ I was sitting down at the time and I just sat there with Tammy and Mason smiling at me. It was a crazy feeling because I wasn’t really expecting it, but I’m very happy.

“I was not expecting at the beginning of the season to make the England squad. I’ve taken everything as it has come. This happened quite fast but it’s been a good 12 months. I’ve been working hard, listening to people, trying to improve myself and it’s going well.

“It’s a bit cliched but it is a dream. Growing up in England and seeing the players playing at Wembley, it was such a good feeling. It’s indescribable. It was a very proud moment.”

Tomori’s excellent performances have been made possible by the massive changes this summer at Chelsea, including the appointment of Frank Lampard as well as the shock departure of David Luiz after some “honest conversations” with the new manager. That move certainly raised a few eyebrows, but Tomori has more than justified the decision already. He’s stepped up and quickly established himself as one of the first names on the team sheet, repaying his manager’s faith — and not just this season, but last year at Derby County as well.

“It does take faith, and to keep playing me when the results weren’t good or I was not playing as well as I could, and helping me learn, is all I could ask.

“Then coming to Chelsea this season, just because he was the manager it wasn’t granted that I was going to come in. I still need to work hard and I’m still working hard to maintain high standards and stay in the team.”

- Fikayo Tomori; source: Chelsea FC

It’s only the beginning, for both Tomori and Chelsea’s youth revolution, but the future looks ever so bright!