Thomas Tuchel backs Tammy Abraham to force way back into England squad

Nick Purewal, PA
·4-min read

Thomas Tuchel believes Tammy Abraham knows his only route into England’s European Championship squad is to regain top form with Chelsea.

The Blues’ new boss admitted Abraham is more focused on forcing his way back into Chelsea’s starting line-up than his England situation.

Abraham has battled on-and-off ankle problems for weeks, but was back in full training on Friday and could feature in Sunday’s FA Cup quarter-final clash with Sheffield United.

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Abraham was omitted from England’s latest squad this week, but Tuchel believes the 23-year-old has to focus first on matters at Chelsea.

Asked for an appraisal on Abraham’s England situation, Tuchel said: “We have not talked about this, I actually feel him right now a bit more concerned about his role in our team.

“I think he clearly knows a role in our team can improve his chances to have a role in the English national team.

“We did not talk about it but it would not surprise me if it’s in his head.

“This is totally normal at this level that the players have their own interests, and one of the interests is to have a role in their team but also their country.

“These are two objectives for Tammy, but in our talks now it’s just about the next steps here, how to increase his involvement here.

“But, at the same time, when you give confidence to strikers who are actually on the pitch, we cannot change all the time so it’s not easy.

Southampton v Chelsea – Premier League – St Mary’s Stadium
Thomas Tuchel, pictured, wants to see Tammy Abraham hit back to full fitness and form with Chelsea (Michael Steele/PA)

“I accept that it’s not too easy, but it’s also not too hard, and I hope he is not too harsh on himself or overthinks it like, ‘if my situation is like this now what are the consequences?’

“He has to refocus on his situation and this is what I feel.

“We have talked about the actual situation here in the club and from here he has, every day, the chance to find his way back.”

Kai Havertz’s recent deployment as a false nine has put further pressure on Abraham’s Chelsea situation, with the academy graduate already attracting big interest from Premier League rivals around a possible summer transfer.

Tuchel hopes he can now move quickly past his niggling ankle issue though, and push for a resurgent second half of the season.

“It’s been hard for him because he’s never felt fully free, never felt fully painless after this tackle,” said Tuchel.

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“So it was hard for him to really perform on the level that you need to perform in training to convince your coach to leave somebody else out.

“He suffers a little bit from me not finding the real formation up front, for not saying, ‘OK, let’s play always like this, this is our position, these are the guys you compete against and compete against A, B, C and D’.

“It’s a bit more complex because I have to get to know the team better.

“Sometimes we play with wingers, sometimes we play with players with number 10 profiles, we have Timo Werner who can play as a number nine, Olivier Giroud and Kai Havertz who can play as a number nine.

“So he suffers a little bit from all these circumstances and it’s not his fault. Maybe it’s more my fault than his fault.

“We had some talks to encourage him to never give in, to accept the situation, to not overthink it, to just come back to the situation where the striker must not overthink it, he just needs to be in the flow and if the team is winning without him then you can feel a little bit excluded.

“But it’s not like this with him so hopefully he can be back now, back in the squad, be totally free and there’s some hard choices, and he’s a part of the group.”