Fikayo Tomori admits his England call-up was “a dream” after a whirlwind 12 months for the Chelsea defender.
The 21-year-old, who was born in Canada and represented them at under-20 level, spent last season on loan at Sky Bet Championship side Derby but has established himself in Frank Lampard’s team this term.
That has earned him a call-up to Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the Euro 2020 qualification double-header against the Czech Republic and Bulgaria.
Tomori, who was picked along with in-form Blues team-mate Tammy Abraham, told a press conference: “I’ve taken everything as it has come.
“This happened quite fast and quickly, but it’s been a good 12 months. I’ve been working hard, listening to people, trying to improve myself and it’s going well.
“It’s a bit cliched but it is a dream (to be called up). Growing up in England and seeing the players playing at Wembley, it was such a good feeling.
“It’s indescribable. I tried to take it in as much as possible, but it was a very proud moment.
“I found out after the Lille game (in the Champions League). The manager came up to me and said ‘you are going to be in the England squad tomorrow’.
— Fikayo Tomori (@fikayotomori_) October 3, 2019
“I was sitting down at the time and I just sat there with Tammy and Mason (Mount) smiling at me. It was a crazy feeling because I wasn’t really expecting it, but I’m very happy.”
Tomori, who is also eligible to play for Nigeria, wants to represent England.
He added: “The call-up solidifies that. Being eligible to play for three countries was a good thing and a bad thing.
“I have just taken everything as it has come and once I got that call-up to England, there wasn’t really a doubt in my mind that I was going to commit.
“Being here now I just want to try and get my first cap and then try and get more after that as well.”
Tomori was on holiday with Abraham in Marbella during the early stages of last summer’s World Cup and the pair followed England’s progress keenly.
“We watched their first game on holiday and we watched the penalty shootout against Colombia together as well,” he said.
“Of course I’m an England fan. I grew up here and went to school here. To be part of this is a dream.”
Tomori’s studies have not stopped there, though, as the defender is currently undertaking a business management degree at the Open University.
“Football is not going to go on forever,” the Chelsea player said.
“Whenever I retire, whenever that maybe, or God forbid I get an injury, then I have something I’m working towards and that can stand me in good stead for the future.
“I spend maybe about eight to 10 hours a week, something like that.
“I am reading all the time, trying to learn new things as well. The essays and the revision is whenever I’m done.”
The current topic is leadership in business and he may well use some of his downtime with England to study.
“I haven’t got the books, but I can do it online so I can see whatever I need to see on there,” Tomori added.
“Yeah, I’ve had a little look. Obviously it’s the first few days, so I’ve tried not to look at that too much, try to be focused on the football.
“But when I do have free time, I can look at it.
“It’s not just the books. I like to kind of spend time with the boys, which is important as well and have a bit of fun.
“But at night time before I’m going to bed or whatever, I might have a look over it, yeah.”