(Reuters) - Tammy Abraham and Fikayo Tomori’s call ups to the England national team for this months’ Euro 2020 qualifiers are a “natural progression” after their performances for Chelsea this season, manager Frank Lampard said on Friday.
With Chelsea operating under a FIFA-enforced transfer ban, Lampard has had to turn to academy players, with Abraham leading the way with seven Premier League goals in seven appearances.
Abraham will have to compete with Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford and Callum Wilson for a spot up front when England play the Czech Republic and Bulgaria, but Lampard expects the 22-year-old to shine on the international stage too.
“It’s well deserved, (Abraham is) scoring goals regularly,” Lampard told reporters ahead of Sunday’s trip to Southampton. “His form is really good. Natural progression, (I’m) delighted for him. He’s a proud lad and proud to get a call up.
“He can score at international level. I don’t want to put too much pressure on his shoulders, I’m sure he has those attributes and the attitude to take that challenge of being a goal scorer for England.
“There’s competition there and when he steps into that squad he’ll see that there’s great strikers there already, so it’s a challenge for Tammy.”
Chelsea centre back Fikayo Tomori received his first call up to the England team and Lampard said he was ‘delighted’ for the 21-year-old who has flown under the radar.
“Mason (Mount) and Tammy have taken headlines, but Tomori... to see him play the full season last year (at Derby County) and then to come here... Some people would have easily doubted him,” Lampard added.
“Another natural progression and I am really pleased, he deserves it. He has shown great qualities and he has been a dream to work with.
“Getting into the team is the next challenge, then it will be about staying in the team. (England boss) Gareth (Southgate) has shown trust, now it is in Fikayo’s hands.”
Lampard said he expected a “tough match” against Ralph Hasenhuettl’s Southampton, who sit four points behind Chelsea in the standings.
Lampard said he would take a late call on N’Golo Kante’s participation after the midfielder, who has struggled with a hamstring injury this season, played 90 minutes in Wednesday’s 2-1 Champions League win at Lille.
Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar