When Tammy Abraham was given a standing ovation as he was substituted on his Roma debut in August, he might have felt that his move to Italy had been vindicated. Leaving Chelsea, the club he had been with since the age of seven, was not an easy decision for the 24-year-old, but he is flourishing in his new surroundings.
So much so that Gareth Southgate has called Abraham up to the England squad for the first time in almost a year. The England manager notoriously casts his net far and wide when it comes to national team squad selections, and Southgate has clearly been pleased by Abraham’s form since joining Roma.
Hit the ground running
Realistically, few could not be impressed with how easily Abraham has settled into Jose Mourinho’s team. Abraham will know better than most, having experienced three loan spells during his time at Chelsea, that faith in players can be fickle at times, but he is already making a strong case for being one of Serie A’s leading strikers this term.
Abraham has always been a goalscorer when given opportunities. He netted 23 for Bristol City whilst on loan during the 2016/17 campaign and 25 for Aston Villa two seasons later. Yet, his returns so far in the Italian capital show an improvement on those numbers still.
Four goals in 10 games has ensured that the Roma supporters have taken to Abraham and two assists on his debut against Fiorentina demonstrated that the new signing is well equipped to provide as well as score. Abraham’s recent goalscoring exploits could have been even greater given he has struck the woodwork on six occasions.
Edin Dzeko was Roma’s striker until his move to Inter in the summer and the Bosnian’s boots will be big ones to fill. But the early signs suggest that Abraham is up to the task. He has started in all seven of Roma’s league games so far this season and is striking up a good working relationship with Lorenzo Pellegrini, who plays behind him in the No 10 position, and right-sided attacker Nicolo Zaniolo.
Endearing himself to fans
Although Abraham couldn’t work his way onto the scoresheet in the recent Rome derby against Lazio, and prevent a 3-2 defeat, he did endear himself to the locals before kickoff by singing along to the chorus of Roma’s club anthem. It was clear that the Londoner is embracing the Stadio Olimpico and everything that it has to offer.
“I’m happy I can show them my passion and love for the club. I’m going to carry on doing my best and showing how much I love this club,” Abraham told Roma’s YouTube channel. “Since I arrived, you can see that the fans are very passionate and they love football. You know how much I love them [ the fans] already. They’ve made me feel like family since my first day.”
Abraham has started learning Italian but has the benefit of having fellow Englishman Chris Smalling in the squad too after he joined the club in 2019. Also, Mourinho, who has overseen a decent enough start to his tenure as manager, knows Abraham from his second spell as Chelsea manager.
Roma are currently fourth in the Serie A table, with four wins and two defeats, with the pace being set by 100 percenters Napoli. “The club over the years haven’t achieved what the fans want them to achieve so hopefully, my presence, goals and assists can lead to something special,” Abraham added. “We need the fans to be on our side and the players need to give the fans what they want to see.”
Southgate called Abraham up to the England squad on Monday for the World Cup qualifying games away to Andorra and against Hungary at Wembley. His only goal for England came in a 7-0 win over Montenegro in 2019 and the last of his six international caps came against Iceland in November 2020.
A start in either of the upcoming games may not be forthcoming for Abraham with Harry Kane and Ollie Watkins earmarked as the starting strikers for the two games. However, the recall alone shows that Abraham’s move to Roma is reaping immediate rewards.