What next for Tammy Abraham?
He publicly came out to deny switching allegiance to his father's birth-country, but with that country now guaranteed a World Cup berth, has Tammy Abraham done his international career more harm than good?
The big dream of every player, besides winning trophies, is to play at a World Cup, perhaps win it. As young as he might be, Tammy Abraham must have that dream too. However, his open denouncement of his fatherland might've ruined his chances of playing in the next World Cup.
The story of how Tammy Abraham came to pledge unwavering commitment to the Three Lions is one that goes back and forth. First, news broke on 21st September that Abraham has made the decision to play for the Nigeria senior national team. Apparently, the Nigerian Football Federation president, Mr Amaju Pinnick had met with Tammy Abraham and his father. Mr Pinnick claimed in a statement obtained by The Sun that he'd had an honest discussion with the player and his father and a decision had been made by the player to further his international career with the oil-rich African nation.
It was, however, embarrassing to see Tammy Abraham come out to rubbish all claims by the Nigeria Federation boss. Excerpts from a statement released by Abraham reads:
“I can confirm I met the President of the NFF after our last game against Tottenham at Wembley on Saturday given he is a friend of my father. However, any suggestion that I have made a decision to change my international representation is incorrect and wide of the mark.
“I have informed The FA that I remain available for selection for England,”
Before Tammy Abraham released that statement, the Nigerian team was still in the process of qualifying for the Russia 2018 World Cup. Now qualified, the Swansea striker would've stood a big chance of making the Super Eagles team to Russia if he hadn't made that statement. With Tammy Abraham's Dad being a close pal of the Nigerian Football Federation president, the youngster could easily have become one of the anointed members of the Super Eagles team. Good examples are Victor Moses and Alex Iwobi who are now integral members of the Eagles setup.
With top strikers such as Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy, Danny Welbeck, even Wayne Rooney all vying for places in the Three Lions team, Abraham's chances of making the English team to Russia are virtually non-existent. His hopes of featuring for England in a World Cup lies beyond 2018.
Similar to England, Nigeria is a country blessed with enormous talent. Although, whilst the bulk of the English national team is made up of locally based, homegrown players, the Nigerian team gives priority to foreign-based players. In the Nigerian system, Tammy Abraham, being a foreign-based player would've been considered ahead of more talented locally-based Nigerian players. For the Three Lions, he must show a marked level of individual brilliance to gain relevance. A player of his quality, he stood a better chance with the Super Eagles. With Tammy Abraham's Dad, being a close pal of the Nigerian Football Federation president,
Having now sworn full commitment to England, the country he was born, grew up and knows so well, the ball is now in Tammy Abraham's court to fight for relevance with the 1966 World Champions. He must understand how difficult that fight would be. First, he must work on becoming more prolific and more physical; no resting on oars – the English under-21 striker must rekindle and maintain the form that saw him finish his loan spell with Bristol City as all of the top scorer, player of the year and young player of the year.