Tammy Abraham is aware that he has “big boots to fill” as Chelsea’s No.9, with the 22-year-old adamant that he can deliver on expectations after overcoming a crisis of confidence.
The 2019-20 campaign has proved to be a breakthrough one for the highly-rated academy graduate at Stamford Bridge.
Having been forced to bide his time through a number of loan spells away from west London, the arrival of Frank Lampard as Blues boss has opened doors for a collection of promising youngsters.
Considerable faith has been shown in home-grown stars, with Abraham among those to have benefited from a marked change in philosophy at a club accustomed to buying ready-made talent.
The England international has scored 15 goals this season, with the belief shown in him allowing any early doubts to be cast aside and confidence to be built.
Explaining his progress to this point, Abraham told Chelsea’s official website: “When I was at Swansea, I had very few chances and if I didn’t take them I knew that was it. That’s my only chance and I didn’t take it. It was hard to take. That season I lost a lot of confidence, I was beating myself up a lot.
“It was my first Premier League experience and it was tough. We started off playing well and scoring goals but then it got to a stage where there was a lack of chances, we weren’t playing well, losing a lot of games. That was something I had to learn about really quick because it was so different from playing for the Chelsea youth teams.”
Abraham added, on hitting 25 goals in Aston Villa’s promotion-winning 2018-19 campaign: “I know my abilities and what I’m capable of doing. The next season, my plan was to remain in the Premier League but it didn’t happen that way. Thankfully, I went to a good club like Aston Villa, I could build that confidence back and do my thing there.”
A big break came his way after returning to Stamford Bridge, with a first senior goal for Chelsea recorded against Norwich in August 2019 to start a run of seven in three games.
Abraham added: “In my head, I knew that if I didn’t score then it could be my last starting chance gone. When I scored, the emotions just got to me. I ran over to the manager and I was thinking ‘I’ve just scored my first goal for Chelsea!’
“That’s when the confidence started to come back. I scored the winner in that game as well so from there the confidence came back gradually. The Chelsea fans started to believe in me and I could kick on.
“As a striker, you need to believe in yourself and have that confidence. Being Chelsea’s number nine, you’ve got big boots to fill so I need to believe that I’m the man, that I can score and do well for the team. You need that feeling going into every game.”