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Tammy Abraham finally has his shot to stake a claim for England after record-breaking season at Roma

England‘s Nations League grudge match against Italy could hand Tammy Abraham the perfect opportunity to stake a claim in Gareth Southgate‘s squad ahead of the World Cup in Qatar.

With end-of-season exhaustion plaguing England during their 1-0 loss to Hungary and last-gasp 1-1 draw against Germany, the Three Lions boss is expected to shuffle his pack on Saturday.

Two 90-minute outings will likely land captain Harry Kane on the bench against Italy, with Abraham stepping up as the beneficiary.

Tammy Abraham could start up top against Italy after two 90-minute matches for Harry Kane

Tammy Abraham could start up top against Italy after two 90-minute matches for Harry Kane

The England captain scored the equaliser from the spot against Germany but looks due a rest

The England captain scored the equaliser from the spot against Germany but looks due a rest

Holding an embarrassment of riches both on the wing and in attacking position – with Mason Mount, Jack Grealish, Phil Foden, Bukayo Saka and Raheem Sterling more or less shoe-ins for the World Cup squad – Southgate will likely take just one central striker to deputise for Kane.

At Chelsea last season, Abraham watched on as other English strikers profited from regular first-team football, propelling themselves to the forefront of Southgate’s mind. 

Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored 16 times for Everton, Ollie Watkins enjoyed a 14-goal debut campaign at Villa Park and Patrick Bamford notched 17 goals with Leeds.

Boss Gareth Southgate is weighing up which striker he wants to take to Qatar alongside Kane

Boss Gareth Southgate is weighing up which striker he wants to take to Qatar alongside Kane

Villa striker Ollie Watkins scored six fewer league goals than Abraham last season (11)

Dominic Calvert-Lewin struggled with injury last campaign and only notched five league goals

Both Ollie Watkins and Dominic Calvert-Lewin missed out on England’s Nations League squad

Meanwhile, Abraham struggled to produce a similar goal return, managing just six Premier League goals in 12 starts.

However, since his decision to leave Stamford Bridge for £34 million last August and team up with Jose Mourinho in the Italian capital, the 24-year-old has launched himself into pole position for hotly-contested spot.

The Roma striker impressively scored 17 league goals last season and became the record English scorer in a single Serie A campaign.

Only Tottenham’s Kane managed to match this goal tally, making Abraham the joint-top scoring Englishman heading into the Nations League.

His Serie A total was the fourth-highest behind in-form Italian Ciro Immobile (27), Dusan Vlahovic (24) and Lautaro Martinez (21).

He also netted nine time on the road to Roma’s Europa Conference League triumph against Feyenoord last month.

Abraham's goals helped win the Europa Conference League - Roma's first ever European title

Abraham’s goals helped win the Europa Conference League – Roma’s first ever European title

He broke the record for the most Serie A goals scored by an Englishman in a single season (17)

He broke the record for the most Serie A goals scored by an Englishman in a single season (17)

The target man’s success since leaving Stamford Bridge has likely raised a few questions in west London, after Chelsea parted with £97.5million – a club record – to sign Romelu Lukaku last summer.

The Belgian went on to score a mere eight goals in 26 appearances, as Abraham flaunted his talents in Italy.

Moreover, Fikayo Tomori – who also left Chelsea in search of game time last summer and subsequently won the Serie A title with AC Milan – made Southgate’s squad as well and could earn his third England cap on Saturday.

England defender Fikayo Tomori made 31 appearances as AC Milan won the Serie A title

England defender Fikayo Tomori made 31 appearances as AC Milan won the Serie A title

Having regained Southgate’s favour, Abraham has a perfect opportunity to demonstrate his worth against Italy, with England entrenched in a shortage of goals.

A goalless outing in Budapest and a lonely spot-kick against Germany has put England rock bottom of League A Group Three with just four group games left to turn the tide.

Were Abraham to score against Italy and link up well with the midfield – a feature of England’s play which seems to fall away without Kane leading the line – he may cement his spot in the squad long-term.

However, above all, the striker will be keen to leave his pre-match training routine against Germany firmly behind him.

Tammy Abraham was mocked after some pre-match ball juggling went hilariously wrong

The England striker slipped over and ended up on his backside

The 24-year-old was mocked by team-mates after his pre-match training routine went wrong

Fans mocked the Roma player after a video emerged of him falling on his backside whilst attempting to juggle the ball. 

Team-mates Jude Bellingham, Reece James and Conor Coady were left in stitches as he rolled over the ball and hit the deck.

As he got to his feet, the England forward tried to laugh off the embarrassment before throwing the ball at Bellingham.

And Three Lions supporters quickly took to social media to gently tease the striker as well

And Three Lions supporters quickly took to social media to gently tease the striker as well

Although the 18-year-old Borussia Dortmund star found his way off the bench against Germany, Abraham remained an unused substitute throughout the second-half as England chased a one goal deficit.

The striker’s lack of minutes in the Nations League so far would hint that the second striker spot is still wide open, despite Southgate’s decision to select him in the squad overall.

Abraham has no doubt earned another chance in an England shirt after his season at Roma, but – if the pre-match antics are anything to go by – he may be wise to keep things simple against Italy and focus on doing the basics right.


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