Tomori welcomes Chelsea competition after battling to prove he belongs at the top

Goal.com

Fikayo Tomori says he is welcoming competition for places at Chelsea, with the 22-year-old having worked hard to prove that he belongs on the Premier League and Champions League stages.

A breakthrough season at Stamford Bridge has been enjoyed by the Blues academy graduate. Having highlighted his potential across a series of Football League loan spells, including one working under Frank Lampard at Derby, the England international has made 22 appearances in 2019-20.

He told Chelsea’s official website of his efforts: “It was just about me feeling like I belonged and that I could play at this level. I had spent two-and-a-half years in the Championship and with Derby last season I managed to win Player of the Year and get to Wembley for the play-off final so I knew I’d had a good season.

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“I wanted to challenge myself at the next level, which was the Premier League. I wanted to do it for Chelsea, the club that I’ve been at since I was eight; a club that’s won the Champions League, the Premier League, FA Cups, everything.

“They won the Europa League the previous season so being able to come into that team and show myself, show the manager and the fans and my team-mates, show everyone that I could play at that level, was really important.

“I managed to do that in those early games and showcase what I could do and I’ve managed to carry that through. Now, it’s just about trying to maintain that level, not drop below it and keep on improving it.”

Rudiger, Zouma and Tomori - Chelsea 2019-20
Rudiger, Zouma and Tomori - Chelsea 2019-20

Tomori accepts that he remains on a steep learning curve when it comes to outings among the elite, while there is no guarantee that he will remain part of Lampard’s plans. Chelsea have a star-studded squad at their disposal, with the funds available to make even more additions if the right players become available.

Tomori, though, is relishing the challenge of competing for regular game time.

He added: “Having competition helps the team to improve because everyone wants to play. You know if you want to get in the team then you have to better than the person who’s got the shirt at that time so you have to take it from them.

“Individually, it spurs you on but then it also makes the team better because everyone is going to be firing on all cylinders trying to get into the team. When you do get your spot, you have to play well to keep your place so I think the fact that there is that friendly competition means everybody knows you have to be on your game.

“If you train well, you can get in the team and if you play well then you’ll stay in the team. Having that breeds this friendly, competitive nature and spirit that we have and it can only be a positive thing.”

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