Pat Nevin believes that Tammy Abraham’s brave decision to swap English football for the glamour of Italy can turn him into the next Didier Drogba. But former Chelsea hero Nevin believes that Abraham will eventually return to the Premier League – as a much better player.
Abraham, recalled into the England squad for the games against Switzerland and the Ivory Coast this week, is in spectacular, record-breaking form for Roma, with his two goals in the derby win over Lazio on Sunday taking his tally to a remarkable 23 in all competitions for the season so far – making him the highest scorer in a debut season for his club since Gabriel Batistuta and Vincenzo Montella.
Abraham snubbed a move to Arsenal to join Roma and former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho in a surprise £34 million deal in the summer, with his career apparently on hold and Stamford Bridge supremo Thomas Tuchel not fancying him – but the Camberwell-born 24-year-old has been such a huge hit in the Eternal City that he has become a cult figure for Roma fans.
BBC Radio 5 pundit Nevin said: “This experience in Italy could really turn Tammy into the next Didier Drogba. The one thing I think that Tammy needed to work on when he left English football in the summer to go to Italy was his physicality.
“There was no doubt about his technical ability. That was there for everyone to see. But he needed to power himself up, make himself more physical – and I think he is doing it out there with Roma.”
But, Nevin added: “I would not be surprised if eventually Tammy wants to come back to the Premier League after this spell in Italy. And he will come back a better player and a more rounded person.
“He has worked under Jose Mourinho out in Rome, and most top strikers who have worked under him love him. Ask Drogba. Tammy is learning that right now.
“I am not surprised Tammy has done so well out there. He is an intelligent boy. I watched some of his games when he was in the Chelsea academy and I marked him out as one to watch. To me at the time he was a more obvious success than Mason Mount or Reece James.
“He is not the same kind of player as Romelu Lukaku – who battered in the goals in Serie A just like Tammy. But I do think scoring goals is easier in Italy – which is why I think eventually, like Lukaku, Tammy will come back – to the best league.
“And it is so good for him that he is playing for a manager that believes in him in Mourinho – and a set of Roma fans that worship him right now. That is a huge boost for any player.”
Mourinho though on Sunday night was typically demanding more from his young striker, saying: “‘When you say Abraham is fantastic I disagree. He can do even more. I demand a lot of him because I know his potential.
“I’m not talking about goals – but he must play every game with this attitude.”