Chelsea’s youth academy graduate, Fikayo Tomori, expressed his anger and frustration with the club this season. Chelsea is one of the clubs notorious for not paying enough attention to youth academy players and usually just sending them out on multiple loans before releasing them from the club or selling them. However, when legend, Frank Lampard, was appointed as their manager last season, the ex-midfielder took full advantage of the talented youngsters that the club boasted.
Lampard was appointed at a time when the Blues were hit with a two windows transfer ban which meant that the English coach could not bring anyone new into the club. Thus, he decided to use the players that he had as well as look for talents in the youth academy. He gave players such as Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount, Reece James, and Tomori their breakthrough seasons. Lampard had previously worked with Mount and Tomori in Derby county and therefore knew about their potential and both of them had a decent season.
Fikayo Tomori discusses a frustrating season with the Blues.
However, the right-back turned center-back, did not have a similar season the second time around. Lampard brought in experienced veteran Thiago Silva and since then, Tomori’s playing time has been drastically reduced. The player went from 22 appearances last season to only 4 appearances this season. This left the player feeling angry and confused as he was not sure why the ex-manager decided to drop him from the team. According to him, he would not even get a clear answer from the manager about his situation at Chelsea.
In a recent interview with the Telegraph, the player revealed his frustration with his situation and its amplification as it was not being resolved. He said in the interview,
I was suddenly out of the squad and I don’t really know why,”
“I just thought I needed to work hard. Then I went to speak to the manager and he said you’ve just got to train harder, so I took that on the chin and thought that’s what I had to do.”
“I was trying to do extra and push myself more but, at that time, nothing seemed to work and nothing was explained to me.” – Source Goal
The 23-year-old went on to say that he was left feeling frustrated and it was hard on him mentally as well as he did not feel like a part of the team. He said that the feeling of being selected all the time to never being selected was hard on him and he felt demoralized. His move to Serie A helped him regain a bit of his confidence however, he has only been handed three starts so far. AC Milan does have an option to buy him out and coach, Stefano Pioli, seems to like the player and could trigger the buyout clause.
Should Chelsea lose the talented youth to Milan, it would be a blow for the club but they have more than enough center-backs at the moment and if Tomori came back, he would probably be benched again. Thus, the player must decide whether he wants to continue trying to break into his boyhood club or start fresh in a new club and a new league.
Image Credit- Fikayo Tomori Twitter