Football

Abraham sets sights on Blues future

Forward also says he never considered snubbing England for Nigeria

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Tammy Abraham is hoping his fine form while on loan at Swansea City and the resulting England call-up are the first steps on his long journey towards clinching a first-team spot at parent club Chelsea.

The 20-year-old striker, currently on a season-long loan spell at the Liberty Stadium, has scored four goals in 11 Premier League starts this season.

Abraham was rewarded with a place in Gareth Southgate's England squad for friendlies against Germany on Saturday morning (Singapore time) and Brazil next Wednesday.

"My main focus is Swansea, but pushing on my main target is to be in that Chelsea squad," he said.

Swansea boss Paul Clement believes his loan ranger can make the cut at Chelsea next season.

"Tammy's a Chelsea player but is with us for the season and has a great opportunity to make that next step, and maybe we can help him to make it and play at his parent club in the future," said Clement last month.

Abraham is one of 34 players Chelsea have farmed out on loan, with the London club often criticised for not showing enough faith in its young players.

Among the critics are former England internationals Ian Wright and Jamie Redknapp, who both believe Abraham is better than Blues back-up striker Michy Batshuayi.

Former Arsenal striker Wright told the BBC: "With his movement, I'm taking Tammy over him all day long.

"They (Swansea) have a great goalscorer."

Former Liverpool midfielder Redknapp, meanwhile, told the Daily Mail: "If you put Tammy Abraham in Chelsea's team now in place of Michy Batshuayi, I don't think he would do any worse, but Swansea is the best place for him right now."

Whether or not Abraham cements a first-team spot at Chelsea, the 20-year-old has impressed teammate Leon Britton enough for the Swans skipper to opine that he will be a regular Premier League scorer for years to come.

Britton told The Daily Telegraph: "Tammy reminds me of Jermain (Defoe) in terms of the hunger to score goals.

"Tammy just wants to get on the end of everything, he is very single-minded. Jermain has scored nearly 160 goals in the Premier League and Tammy can go on and have a great career like him."

Former Arsenal attacker Charlie Nicholas, however, reckons the Swansea striker is more like former Arsenal and Real Madrid forward Emmanuel Adebayor.

He told Sky Sports: "He reminds me a little of Adebayor actually, the way that he glides over the ground, that tall, long stride that he's got."

For now though, it is England's No. 1 striker Harry Kane's boots that Abraham might have to fill, after the Tottenham Hotspur star pulled out of the squad after sustaining a knee injury.

Fellow Spurs players Dele Alli and Harry Winks also dropped out due to injuries. They were later joined by Raheem Sterling, Fabian Delph and Jordan Henderson.

"I feel like I'm ready but it won't be easy," Abraham said on the prospect of making his England debut. "It would be a fantastic thing for me, (a) big confidence boost to show I'm going in the right direction."

Last month, though, his international future seemed headed in the direction of Nigeria, rather than England.

The president of the Nigeria Football Association, Amaju Pinnick - a childhood friend of Abraham's father, said last month that the 20-year-old former England youth international was going to switch his allegiance.

However, Abraham said he was never swayed by a guaranteed spot in the Super Eagles side for next year's World Cup in Russia.

He said: "I think I was pretty set on England, really...

"Of course (it was flattering) but for me my main focus was here." - WIRE SERVICES

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