Roma striker Tammy Abraham revealed Jose Mourinho told him to ‘be a monster’ and revealed he had the World Cup 2022 in the ‘back of my mind’ when moving to Serie A. ‘I’ve gone to spread my wings’.
The Londoner has played all 12 Serie A games since joining the Giallorossi from Chelsea over the summer and has contributed three goals so far.
Abraham has added two more goals to his tally in the UEFA Europa Conference League and has earned consecutive call-ups to the England squad since his move abroad.
The England international stressed Mourinho asked for aggression from the former Chelsea player and revealed the Portuguese tacticians words to him when he arrived at Trigoria.
“Just be a monster, really,” Abraham told the Telegraph. “I think one of the things he said was I was too much of a nice player and that you have to show that aggressiveness as you’re getting older as a striker.
“It’s not always about being nice on the pitch. You need that character; you need that presence to frighten defenders and I think that’s something I’m learning and getting better at.”
When Abraham realised his opportunities at Chelsea would have been limited, the 24-year-old moved to Roma and joined Jose Mourinho at the Olimpico.
He revealed he had next year’s World Cup in Qatar in mind, as he needed regular playing time to break into Gareth Southgate’s England squad.
“At first that was at the back of my mind,” Abraham continued. “Do I really want to leave the Premier League? It’s the best league and where everyone wants to play. You always have doubts in your mind.
“But I think going to Serie A and a team like Roma, which is a massive club, I don’t think people will really forget you as long as you are doing your thing, scoring and playing well. That makes a noise in itself. I just have to keep doing the right things really and as you can see Gareth keeps an eye on players playing abroad as well.
“It’s always tough, moving and going to experience a different country and different culture I felt the sooner I settled in the better and started learning different types of football and different styles.
“I’ve gone to spread my wings and hopefully I can keep up the level of performances I need to stay in the team
“Of course [the World Cup] was in the back of my mind but really I just wanted to play football. For me, it’s still a young career and I just felt I needed to go out and play some games to improve and hit the highest levels and hopefully I can keep striving on.”
Abraham replaced Harry Kane in the 5-0 win over Albania, after the Tottenham Hotspur star had scored a hat-trick in the first half.
The former Chelsea man stressed the Three Lions teammates are ‘delighted’ for their captain.
“It was phenomenal. Everyone is so delighted for him, especially on the bench, every time he scored. It just shows that he’s world class,” said Abraham. “He’s someone I really look up to and hopefully he can get many more.
“I’m always someone who backs myself and believes in myself and you have to be ready because anything can happen in football.
“For me it’s about always trying to be ready. Of course, players go through injury and bad spells et cetera, but as a player you have to be ready and that’s something you have to be ready for, whenever the call is and the opportunities come.”
Abraham hinted he might return to England one day, pointing at Romelu Lukaku spending two years at Inter before re-joining Chelsea in the Premier League over the summer.
“One thing I didn’t expect was it to be so tough,” Abraham admitted. “Players are very smart and defending is very important in the Italian style of play.
“So, for me it was about learning the other side. In England we’re so used to attack, attack, attack and for me it’s about learning the other way – how to break down them teams. It’s part of the learning curve and you see the likes of Lukaku et cetera who have gone abroad and come back to England and for me it’s about developing myself.”