Tammy Abraham’s summer has turned disappointing coming off the high of winning the Championship playoff final with Aston Villa, as England’s prospects of going deep at the U21 European Championships went up in smoke with back-to-back losses to France and Romania in the first two group games. To add to the team disappointment, Abraham’s barely featured, though he did manage to get on the scoresheet during his 15-20 minutes, which is more than can be said for any of the other strikers on the team (Solanke, Calvert-Lewin).
Fortunately for Tammy, there will be little time to wallow in summertime sadness. After England’s final game on Monday, he will have a couple weeks to rest, relax, and recover before returning to Cobham where it’s set to the be the best summer ever for the Chelsea youth.
And that’s not just a guess or hopeful expectation. Tammy’s already talked with the club about it. He knows.
“This year is the most important year for us. It is now or never. There will never be a better time to play the youngsters. Of course the transfer ban is probably not what the club wanted but for us it is exciting. I am excited and I am sure the rest of the players are.
“There is a great chance for us young players so we must get our heads down in training and go for it at Chelsea. I have already been talking to the club about pre-season. I’m going to have a couple of weeks and then come back hitting the ground running. There is no better time for a young player to be at Chelsea. I am going to give it my all. With a new manager coming in there is no better time to show what I am made of in pre-season. I am just buzzing at the thought of the new season.”
There’s a lot of good stuff in there. And while they may not be new sentiments or even new hopes, the current circumstances are certainly very, very new and never seen before at Chelsea. A transfer ban that prevents the club from registering any new players this season, and a new manager coming in alongside an assistant who’s already very familiar with most of the best young players in the Academy or out on loan, gives real hope for an actual youth revolution for the first time in practically living memory.
Tammy hopes to be, wants to be front and center as that proverbial glass ceiling gets shattered.
“Maybe it will change. Hopefully. Chelsea has always had a great academy. They have lacked playing them and taking them to the next level. You see the likes of Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who on the borderline have done that. We have excellent players still there and coming through who are still Chelsea players so fingers crossed if it all goes well it changes the mindset. I got thousands of messages from Chelsea fans on Instagram saying play him, play him. It is nice to have that behind you, knowing the supporters have your back. They believe in you as well. Clearly I was doing something right. Fingers crossed it all happens.”
Fans can be fickle of course, and there’s every chance the youth revolution is put down by the forces of the harsh reality of top level football. But the chance of success should increase by having the right people in charge and leading it, including the manager and his assistant, expected to soon be officially announced as Frank Lampard, and, even more relevantly, Jody Morris.
Morris of course was U21 assistant coach and then later U18 head coach at Chelsea for four years (2014-18), and has not only knowledge of but a working relationship with many of the academy hopefuls (Mason Mount, Reece James, Abraham himself, etc.) now knocking on the first-team’s door. Morris himself came through the academy back in the 1990s, and if he can’t convince a head coach who’s also intimately familiar with just about every aspect of the club already, then there’s little hope of this situation ever changing for the better.
“I believe in myself and there is no better guy to play under as well. [Lampard is] someone you have grown up watching, who has been at Chelsea for ever. He knows about me as well – I played against his team in the play-off final. I am pretty sure he knows all about me. And Jody as well. I have obviously been coached by Jody in the younger age groups. So it is positive, it is all positive.”
-Tammy Abraham; source: Guardian
There are many, many things to be concerned about at Chelsea for next season. But this is one thing that could turn out to be very, very exciting.
As Tammy says, it’s now or never.