Tammy Abraham was always going to have big shoes to fill when he agreed to stay at Chelsea and take on the coveted number nine shirt ahead of the new season.
Blighted by their transfer ban, Chelsea were reliant on their lengthy roster of young talent to step up to the mark; arguably none more so than striker Abraham, who’d impressed at Championship level but was yet to really make the step up to regular Premier League football.
Goals are a major requirement to perform well in the English topflight, quite obviously, and new boss Frank Lampard will have been well aware from day one that the reprieve they’d receive given the circumstances would only stretch so far. Results might not be at their best all season long, but they could not afford to slip up and not at least perform like a Chelsea team is expected to do.
That meant that Abraham had to meet the mark. And by goodness, has he risen to the challenge so far. Yes, it’s only five games into the new season, but the 21-year-old has seven Premier League goals to his name in that time.
It’s been a remarkable run, seeing him sit atop the English top division’s goalscorer charts – some accomplishment this season, being so vehemently chased by Norwich City’s Teemu Pukki and his remarkable form.
Abraham capped off that sublime start to the season with his hat-trick against Wolves, in a game where he set about achieving just about everything a player could on the pitch. Three goals, a yellow card and an own goal – he was just an assist and a red card away from a full house.
Either way, the 21-year-old has surely done enough now to merit a place in Gareth Southgate’s England squad in the next round of international games – and perhaps a reason not just based on the player’s current form, but also tactically for the future as well.
Abraham is without a question going to be a top talent for likely the rest of a long career, even if he doesn’t hit the absolute highest heights. He is Premier League quality, and will continue to be for a number of years.
As such, ensuring that he is an England-eligible international star would be a sensible investment in the current time.
The reason being that Abraham is also eligible to represent Nigeria at international level, and hasn’t ruled out the possibility of doing so. Should the Super Eagles poach him first, then England might well lose out on one of the Premier League’s future figureheads.
All for the sake of an easy competitive appearance, in one of England’s relatively easygoing qualification games. It’s not like the Three Lions are particularly stretched in many of these games, and Abraham’s place in the side wouldn’t be unmerited – he’s certainly performing at a level domestically that to justify a cap.