TAKE GOOD LOOK AT TAMMY IF YOU WANT TO CUT IT
TAMMY ABRAHAM is a fantastic example to all the kids happy to sit in academies and pick up a wage. The Bristol City striker – who is on loan from Chelsea – is getting more experience and more recognition playing for a Championship club than he ever would playing in the Under-23 league. Mixing with different people. Moving to a new city. Playing for three points twice a week, against topquality defenders. He wouldn’t have got any of that if he’d stayed put. Players at that age (18) are earning very good money and, as Stuart Pearce said this week, you can easily lose the desire to kick on. I’ve said before in this column that, as a youngster, my win bonus was more than my wage. It was a huge motivation because I thought ‘Hang on, if I train hard and impress the manager, I could double or treble my salary’. I don’t know what Tammy is on, but he won’t be worried about win bonuses, that’s for sure. He’ll be doing more than OK. So it’s great to see that he’s looked beyond that and moved to Bristol. He’s the top scorer in the Championship with six goals. He’s playing superbly. Will that be enough to earn him a chance under Antonio Conte at Chelsea? I’m not sure. The Italian was making positive noises about Ruben Loftus-Cheek in pre-season, but we’ve barely seen the young midfielder since. But that’s not the point. Unlike somebody who rots in the reserves, he’s proved he can do a job in the Championship. Psychologically, he’ll also have way more confidence than someone who’s just scoring goals in the Under-23s. Which means that, next season, every big club in the division will want him and possibly some in the lower reaches of the Premier League. By 19, he could be playing for, say, Aston Villa, with a golden boot on his mantelpiece and widespread recognition. Players happy to cruise through life collecting the cash should look at Tammy and say ‘I want some of that’.
PIN-UP BOY: Tammy Abraham gave up a comfortable life at Chelsea for a crack at the Championship and, inset, Stuart Pearce