Tammy Abraham is loving life under Jose Mourinho after responding to the Roma manager’s call to despise the Premier League’s interest in a fresh start under the Italian sun.
The 24-year-old became the last English talent to head overseas this summer as the lack of opportunities under Thomas Tuchel saw him lower the curtain on his longstanding partnership with Chelsea.
Abraham scored a hat-trick in what turned out to be Frank Lampard’s last game in January and has only played seven more for the club, with the striker barred from winning the Champions League final.
He later traded Stamford Bridge for Stadio Olimpico in search of playing time, joining Roma on a £ 34m contract and scoring four goals in his first 10 games under Mourinho.
He said: “Why Italy? Good question. I had several options. So many clubs I was talking to at the time. Italy came and I talked to Jose. He had a goal.
“I was able to see where he wanted Roma to go and see where he wanted to take them and I wanted to be part of the process. He really put his faith in me, so it had a big impact on why I chose Roma. “
Abraham said that when Mourinho “speaks you listen”, with the striker learning a lot from the former Chelsea boss after hearing about his sales success.
“The first thing he said to me was when I picked up the phone and said ‘do you want to enjoy some sun or be in the rain?’ I laughed, “he said with a smile.
“I think at first I didn’t think much about it while we were talking. I think my mindset was that I wanted to be in the Premier League and I wanted to stay here.
“I feel like I’m at home, around London, around England. It was home. And I think I had to spread my wings a bit and make a choice and I chose Italy and I wouldn’t have changed it.
“I have learned so much tactically, as much as I have learned in my entire life. It’s good. You have to learn from different managers. Right now I’m learning a lot “.
“An easy option would have been to hang around”
Abraham is enjoying the limelight Mourinho told him to expect in the Italian capital, as well as the chance to learn a language, experience a different culture, and visit new places.
The England international says he loves learning, but has sometimes been through adversity this year, admitting he “didn’t really understand” why he didn’t have more opportunities under Tuchel.
“I think the simplest option would have been to stay and sit,” Abraham said.
“Chelsea are a huge club, they will compete and try to win trophies, so the simplest option would have been to do so.
“I realized that I needed to go out and challenge myself, I needed to play some games. I made a decision and it was the right one.
“I think in the beginning it is quite difficult to deal with. You went from playing regularly to not being in the fray and not even benching at times. I got to a point where I had to sit down and talk to myself. I was going out to train and I was doing it for myself.
“I was training to improve myself because it’s easy to throw bullshit, to be mad about the place, to be a bad egg.
“For me it was the opposite. I learned about myself and I think this has strengthened my mindset. I was with the team whenever they needed me.
“Players like Mason (Mount), Reece James, Callum Hudson-Odoi – players younger than me, I had to lift them up and be their support, help and encourage them.
“At the end of the day, we won trophies as a team, so I have to thank them for that.”
“The recall to England was a surprise for me”
Abraham said the spell made him appreciate that there will be low moments during a career that has returned to an upward trajectory, which led to his return to England.
He was involved in a Covid-19 breach last October and his last appearance in England came the following month, meaning he ended up watching Euro 2020 from afar.
But Abraham is focused on the future and takes this opportunity, having been excluded from the starting squad for the World Cup qualifiers against Andorra and Hungary.
“It was a surprise for me,” said the striker for six appearances.
“I woke up with a call from Gareth and I was still half asleep and when I answered he spoke to me and what he said is that at the beginning he couldn’t guarantee me matches as there were only two games but he found a way and took me in.
“I am always happy to play for my country”.
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