England manager Gareth Southgate has said that Fikayo Tomori’s selection for the Three Lions resulted from the fact that he has been performing consistently over the past year. The young centre-back made his breakthrough under manager Frank Lampard in late August and he has since been an undisputed starter in the Premier League and Europe.
Speaking in a press conference, Southgate reserved praise for Chelsea manager Frank Lampard, who has taken the incentive to offer opportunities to a number of young players. He added that Tomori has been on the radar since his under-20 World Cup success with the Young Lions and the upcoming internationals will allow him to have a close look on the centre-back.
He said: “I think what’s been great for us in terms of England is to see Frank [Lampard] as a coach getting an opportunity at a big club and he’s playing a lot of young English players. Fik was in our Under-20s when they won the World Cup and has played very well, so we think it’s a good time to have a closer look at him and work with him.”
The Blues started off the season with Andreas Christensen and Kurt Zouma as the preferred central defensive partnership with Tomori acting as the back-up. However, Tomori has been able to leapfrog ahead of Zouma over the past month but there have been occasions where the trio have played together in a changed 3-4-2-1 formation.
Antonio Rudiger is expected to return from a groin problem after the forthcoming break but Lampard has clearly stated that Tomori can be regarded as a starter regardless of the German’s comeback. The Blues are scheduled to face Southampton on the road before the international break. They can potentially jump into the top four, should the other results go their way.