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Alok Kulkarni writes a detailed scout report about Tammy Abraham, Chelsea’s young striker on loan at Bristol City
All of 18 and having represented his country at all junior levels, Tammy Abraham is one to watch. One of the 38 Chelsea loanees plying their trade in England, the London-born striker is making his presence felt at Bristol City.
Born in Camberwell in South London, a fair distance away from his current home, Abraham joined Chelsea as a 7-year-old and has been at the club ever since. Like many of his fellow Chelsea youth players, he is currently on loan with Championship – now the EFL Championship – club Bristol City.
He joined Chelsea’s under-8s in 2004 and has progressed well through the ranks. Abraham has managed to amass a total of 74 goals for the Blues in his 98 youth appearances so far. The young Englishman – who is also eligible to play for Nigeria through his father – was the core of Chelsea’s FA Youth Cup and UEFA Youth League winning team in the 2014-15 season and again in 2015-16. His 8 goals in 9 matches in the UEFA tournament in 2016 were the second-highest tally for that year.
Those who follow Chelsea closely will know that he is highly regarded at Cobham. So much so, that he trained with the first team towards the end of last season. It ultimately resulted in a senior debut for him against Liverpool, followed by a home debut against champions Leicester.
His form was noticed by England bosses and he went on to represent both the under-18s and under-19s in the 2-year span. On returning from the U19 European Championships this summer, he was invited to Chelsea senior team’s pre-season tournament.
Tammy is now setting the EFL Championship alight, having already scored 8 goals in 9 matches including a 95th minute winner against Burton Albion.
Like many forwards his age, Abraham is a quick runner. For all the pace in the world, if a forward does not have the end product, it isn’t worth all the running. That, however, isn’t the case with the young Englishman. He has a good long-range shot, quick feet to help with ‘poaching’ goals and perhaps most importantly, a good head on his shoulders to help with the decision making.
For his age, his vision to find the right pass is commendable. Along with helping his teammates, his reading of the game to time attacking runs to perfection is an added advantage. He is that sort of striker whom one would want to chase a long ball from defence, collect it, dribble and finish.
Unlike many forwards his age, however, he has the ability to help out in defence. A trait more and more managers are looking for in players, Abraham is not afraid of going into a tackle. Not only is he good at it, he likes doing the dirty work too.
His pace is also a boon for the defensive part of his game. Tracking back and helping out his defence when needed, then linking up play and racing ahead to help out in attack, will make him a vital cog in any team he plays.
From the club’s perspective, Dominic Solanke, his strike partner throughout the FA Youth Cup and UEFA Youth League success, is certainly ahead of Abraham in the pecking order. The former has been equally successful, if not more, at the club and international level. One feels that if Chelsea are looking at the young English duo to lead the line in the future, they will have to trust them more. Give them chances, one might say, much like cross-town rivals Tottenham did with Harry Kane.
With his lanky frame, one would expect him to be good in the air. That isn’t the case with Abraham. If there are things that need to be polished to make him into the diamond he is bound to become, it needs to start in the gym. He needs more physicality, more power to add to his 6ft 3in body. With the physicality will come the ability to hold on to the ball, another problem area for him.
While he is good at spraying the ball from deeper in the pitch, the ability of a modern center forward to keep possession while defenders pressurize him is almost as important as scoring goals. A certain Olivier Giroud comes to mind when we speak about this part of the game – minus the goals bit.
A side effect of not being able to hold the ball for runners, is of controlling the ball close to him – which he should also target to improve. On an average this season for Bristol, he has been dispossessed 2 times a game and has failed to control the ball 2.2 times per match (stats via Whoscored).
It is quite obvious with the resources Chelsea have at their disposal, he is in good hands. Whether he stays in those ‘hands’ at Cobham is for another article at another time. His biggest opposition, so to say, might come from within. With Chelsea having a loanee at 11% of the clubs in England, his chances to shine might be few and far between. There are many players who get lost in the loan system, never to return to the club.
He has started his ‘loan career’ the right way at Ashton Gate. What remains to be seen is if he has the consistency and temperament to pip international stars like Diego Costa to the starting berth. That, of course, is not in his hands. The only thing he can do for now, is to score goals by the bucketload and hope Antonio Conte (or whoever is at the helm next season) believes in him enough to propel his career to the heights it deserves.
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