The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP -

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’.

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Im­ages

PIN-UP BOY: Tammy Abra­ham gave up a com­fort­able life at Chelsea for a crack at the Cham­pi­onship and, inset, Stu­art Pearce

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