Tammy Abraham insists he is loving life at Roma and claims he had little hesitation in turning down the chance to work with Jose Mourinho ahead of rival Premier League interest.
Abraham left Chelsea this summer after falling down the pecking order under Thomas Tuchel. He took the big decision to move abroad with Roma, under the guidance of Mourinho. So far it has been paying off and his recognition has now arrived from Gareth Southgate.
To date, the striker has scored four goals and provided three assists across 10 appearances in all competitions for Roma.
And while the move now looks like it’s paying off, it could have been a different matter for Abraham.
However, Abraham insists he has no regrets.
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.”
Abraham said when Mourinho “speaks you listen”, with the striker learning a lot from the former Chelsea boss after listening to his successful sales pitch.
“The first thing he said to me was when I picked up the phone he was like ‘do you want to enjoy some sun or stay in the rain?’ I laughed,” he said with a smile.
“I think at first I did not think much of it when we were speaking. My mindset was that I wanted to be in the Premier League and I wanted to stay here.
“I feel like it was home, being around London, being around England. It was home. And I think I had to open my wings a bit and make a choice and I chose Italy and would not change it.
“I have learned so much tactically – as much as I have in my entire lifetime. It is good. You need to learn off different managers. Right now I am learning a lot.”
Abraham is enjoying the limelight Mourinho told him to expect in the Italian capital. In addition, he’s also embracing the chance to learn a language, experience a different culture and visit new places.
The 24-year-old says he loves learning but sometimes that has been through adversity this year.
Abraham ‘did not understand’ Tuchel snub
Indeed, Abraham admits he “didn’t really understand” why he did not get more opportunities under Tuchel.
“I think the easy option would’ve been to stick around and sit down,” Abraham said.
“Chelsea’s a massive club, they will compete and try to win trophies so the easy option would’ve been to do that.
“I realised that I needed to go out and prove myself, I needed to play some games. The decision was taken and it was the right one.
“I think at first it’s quite tough to deal with. You’ve gone from playing regularly to not being in the mix and not even making the bench sometimes. I got to a point where I had to sit down and talk to myself. I was going out to train and I was doing it for me.
“I was going to train to better myself because it’s easy to throw a strop, to be angry around the place, to be a bad egg.
“For me, it was the opposite. I learned about myself and I think that strengthened my mindset. I was with the team whenever they needed me.
“Players like Mason (Mount), Reece James, Callum Hudson-Odoi – the players that are younger than me, I kind of had to lift them and be their support, help them and encourage them.
“At the end of the day, we won trophies as a team so I have to thank them for that.”
Abraham shocked by England call
Abraham said that spell made him appreciate there will be low moments during a career that is back on an upward trajectory, which has led to his return to the England set-up.
The 24-year-old was involved in a Covid-19 breach last October and his last Three Lions appearance came the following month, meaning he ended up watching Euro 2020 from afar.
But Abraham is focused on the future and grabbing this opportunity, having been left off the initial squad list for the World Cup qualifiers against Andorra and Hungary.
“It was a surprise to me,” the six-cap striker said.
“I woke up to a call from Gareth and I was still half asleep and when I answered he spoke to me and what he said was at first he could not guarantee me games as there were only two games but he found a way and brought me in.
“I am always delighted to play for my country.”