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Tammy Abraham: I immediately felt at home here

Summer signing Tammy Abraham was officially presented to the assembled media at Trigoria on Friday afternoon.

Here's everything the England international had to say during his first press conference...

Hi Tammy, welcome to Roma. The first question is about your decision to come to Rome. How important was Jose Mourinho in your decision to join the club?

“Good question. Luckily for me I spoke to Jose and obviously Tiago before coming here, and they told me the ambition of the club, what they want from the club, their project for the club and how they see the club moving forward. I am someone who is very ambitious myself. When I see a vision, and I believe in the vision, and I feel I can help with the vision – then I am all in with the vision. I came here to win. I didn’t just come here to play and score goals, I came here to help the team as much as possible and hopefully we can win a trophy as part of that.

“Right now we are focused on taking every game as it comes. There are a lot of very good teams in the Conference League, so we cannot say that we are just going to win the competition. But Roma are going to fight until the end - we’ve got a good team and we believe we can fight all the way.”

At Chelsea you played under different systems. Do you prefer to play as the main striker or do you think you are capable of playing with another striker alongside you? For example, could that be Eldor Shomurodov?

“You know I am a player that as I grew up, I wasn’t originally a striker, I was a right winger. So I am used to playing many different positions, I’m used to playing with different types of players and different strikers – not just me alone up front. I can do that but whatever the team is, whatever the formation is, whatever players he puts alongside me, or me with them, I will always try to do my best and do what I can to score and assist and have an impact on the game. So, for me, I am happy with either one.”

What did you think of Serie A before coming here? What do English players think of the games in Italy?

“Watching Italian games on TV, playing against Italian teams in the different age groups growing up, I always knew Italians are very tactical. They defend well as a team, they have a good structure to how they play. It’s always hard to break teams down and score against them.

“One thing I have learned here already is that every team is very good. Every team is good. Compared to the Premier League, let’s say, if you are at one of the good teams you are going to have a lot of the ball, and you are going to dominate against the, let’s say, smaller teams. But here everyone is equal. Everyone wants the ball, every team is compact and has a good shape and so you have to find different ways to break teams down.

“I think that is the difference between Italian football and English football.”

For a young English player it is often hard to leave the English game, and playing in the Champions League and everything. So how important is Jose Mourinho in this adventure for you, and how do you think you can improve under him?

“I would like to say that it’s not just because of Jose that I am here. Of course he has had a big impact on why I am here, but I’ve also grown up watching Roma on TV, in the Champions League and everything else, and so I’ve known about the club for a very long time. I’ve had the privilege of playing with players like Antonio Rudiger and Emerson Palmieri, who have been at this club as well. Rudiger told me so many good things about his time here, so that had an impact on my decision as well.

“And, of course, Jose the manager has been very successful, he’s very ambitious – and that’s what I love, because I’m exactly the same. The difference is he is the coach and I am a player. But it’s nice to have someone of that high calibre be the manager of such a great team.”

 

You were part of a transfer window that has seen so many big strikers move clubs. Did you expect to be part of that, and are you surprised at the impact you’ve already had here?

“Good question again! For me, I was focused on my football. I was focused on wanting to play football. I want to help a team. When Roma came in and showed they were interested, I got my mind focused on coming here and helping as much as I can.

“Now I am the No. 9 here. I have to give [Edin] Dzeko credit, I grew up watching him, when he was at different teams, and he did well here and it means they are big boots to fill. But I am a person who always believes in myself, I always back myself  to help the team as much as possible.

“Lukaku did that and has now gone back to English football, while Dzeko has moved on as well, and they are both very good strikers. To be named alongside those guys is a privilege for me.

“But I am very young, I still have a lot of time to go and a lot of things to develop on. This is a step forward but it is not the end, it’s just the beginning [for me].”

And what about the reception you have got from the fans already?

“You know, since I arrived in Rome the fans have been amazing. They have welcomed me, and so have the players as well. I felt at home as soon I got here. With fans like this I want to make everyone happy, I want them to all enjoy watching football again. We’ve had Covid, we’ve had situations that mean fans haven’t been at the stadium [recently]. So we want to put on a good performance for them.

“For me, whever I am, I want to put my heart, sweat and blood into it. And I want the fans to see that I am doing that too. I don’t like to take too long to settle in anywhere and I want to make an instant impact and hopefully I’ve done that and I’ve been able to show my teammates and the fans that.”

Chelsea preferred to re-sign Romelu Lukaku rather than give you, a homegrown player, a chance. Does that give you an added motivation to be a success here – and, perhaps, are you thinking about convincing them to sign you back one day too?

“No. For me, I don’t focus on who Chelsea buy or whatever else. Wherever I am I want to focus on me and my football. It’s not about going away to impress them, about trying to convince them to buy me back - that’s not my focus. My focus is coming out of my comfort zone, coming to a new country, embracing a new culture, learning different things and adding different ideas to my game.

“It would probably have been easy to find another squad in England, but I wanted to come and spread my wings a little bit and learn about myself and develop myself.

“I love football, so I am here to play football and to win stuff. As I said before, I am very ambitious. Whatever happens in the future, happens. But I’m at Roma right now and my main focus has to be doing my best for this club.”

 
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