The Italian Job - How Tammy Abraham and Fikayo Tomori played their way back into Gareth Southgate's England squad

The former Stamford Bridge pair have forced their way back into the Three Lions’ plans.

Tammy Abraham and Fikayo Tomori . (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Once upon a time, the prospect of an England international plying their trade abroad would have been regarded as something of a curio.

While admittedly not unheard of, a Englishman on the continent was still enough of a rarity to evoke a certain amount of intrigue and exoticism.

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Now, though, with a growing trend towards young players flying the nest of the Premier League in search of greater, more immediate, first team opportunities in some of Europe’s biggest and brightest divisions, it’s far less uncommon for the Three Lions’ squad to be strewn with a number of talents who play their club football abroad.

And two more who can now be added to that growing list are Tammy Abraham and Fikayo Tomori.

Both left Chelsea over the summer, for AS Roma and AC Milan respectively, both have been capped by England before, and both have earned themselves recalls ahead of the Three Lions’ World Cup qualification clashes against Andorra and Hungary this week.

But what is it about their recent performances, away from the constant spotlight glare of the Premier League, that has convinced Gareth Southgate to bring them back into the international fold?

We’ve taken a closer look…

Tammy Abraham

Abraham was cherry-picked by Jose Mourinho to spearhead the point of his new look AS Roma attack, and thus far he has done so with aplomb.

The 24-year-old arrived in the Italian capital with the weight of a £36 million price tag resting on his shoulders, but any residual pressure that may have come with such a hefty fee doesn’t appear to have affected his early forays into the Italian game.

Four goals and three assists in his first 10 matches, including two strikes in two UEFA Conference League outings, have shown that he has what it takes to be a success on the continent, and his hold-up play and ability to bring those around him into the action have been genuinely impressive.

As things stand, the former Chelsea man is the Whoscored’s second-highest rated Roma player this term, with an average match rating of 7.47.

The only English striker in the Premier League with a higher average at the moment is Brentford’s Ivan Toney.

Away from the pitch, Abraham looks to have really embraced life in Italy too.

As well as endearing himself massively to fans by regularly singing along with Roma’s pre-game anthem prior to kick-off, the rangy forward has spoken fondly of the club and Mourinho’s plans for the future.

As quoted by Sky Sports recently, he said: "Why Italy? Good question. I had different options. So many clubs I was speaking to at the time. Italy came and I spoke to Jose. He had a goal.

"I could see where he wanted Roma to go and see where he wants to take them and I wanted to be part of the process. He really put his trust in me so he was a big impact on the reason why I chose Roma."

Fikayo Tomori

Compared to Abraham, Tomori has had slightly longer to adjust to life in Italy, having initially signed for AC Milan on loan in January.

Like Abraham, a big money summer move would follow, and the fact that a club largely overseen by a defensive legend such as Paolo Maldini were willing to splash out £26 million on the centre-back is testament to his pedigree and potential.

For his part, Tomori has lived up to the billing too.

The 23-year-old has featured nine times for Milan already this season – seven times in Serie A and twice in the Champions League. Clean sheets have been a little hard to come by, with just three in all competitions so far, but Tomori himself has impressed nonetheless.

Nobody in Stefano Pioli’s squad has made more interceptions per game this term, and only two of Tomori’s teammates have averaged more clearances per 90 minutes.

As for the Englishman’s outlook on life in Italy, it’s clear that he’s generally content, and more than grateful for the opportunity to ply his trade at the San Siro.

Speaking recently, he said: "Every footballer wants to play and I got the opportunity to do that at Milan - and when it came, such a big club, I was so excited and I am really happy that it has gone well so far.

"We have started the new season well and the club have shown a lot of faith in me, a lot of confidence.

"So I am really comfortable there, really settled and it's led me to be here, so it's all going really well."