Abraham birthday goal for Chelsea a timely nudge to England boss Southgate
Tammy Abraham marked his 22nd birthday with a priceless Champions League goal for Chelsea and now he must wait to discover how impressed Gareth Southgate has been with his progress.
Abraham netted Wednesday's opener from close range in a 2-1 win over Lille in the Champions League, getting Chelsea off the mark after an opening home defeat to Valencia in Group H.
England manager Southgate names his squad on Thursday for the Euro 2020 qualifiers against Czech Republic and Bulgaria, and Abraham – who won a pair of caps against Germany and Brazil two years ago – has made a strong case for inclusion.
A run of seven goals in three Premier League games had been followed by three blanks before he fired Chelsea ahead at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy.
Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard was putting no pressure on Southgate to select Abraham, who was again picked ahead of France striker Olivier Giroud to lead the line for the west London side.
Yet Lampard hinted Abraham would love the chance to return to the international stage. He is widely expected to be rewarded by Southgate for his impressive club form.
"Tammy is handling that as he handles everything in life. He takes it with enthusiasm and happiness, and a desire to work," Lampard said.
"He wants to be the best and with that comes international recognition and the next decision on that is for Gareth. I don’t want to tell him what to do. But with Mason [Mount] and Tammy and the way [Fikayo] Tomori is playing, they've given themselves a chance."
Lampard says there has been birthday cake for Tammy Abraham already and his performance tonight is more of the same we have seen this season. He is hungry for goals. #LOSCCHE— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) October 2, 2019
Chelsea's young trio of Abraham, Mount and Tomori have been thrust into regular action this season, largely because the club were prevented from signing anyone in the summer due to a FIFA transfer ban.
They have waited for such first-team opportunities to come around, serving time away from Stamford Bridge on loan, and all three have seized the chance.
Abraham had a double cause for celebration, given it was his birthday, and Lampard said the squad had already celebrated with the man who helped Aston Villa to promotion last season.
"He got his cake earlier. We're on the ball. Him and [Michy] Batshuayi. It's both their birthday. We had two cakes for them last night," Lampard said.
As enthusiastic as he was about Abraham's performance, Lampard stressed the forward cannot afford to buy into the hype that surrounds him.
"The minute his levels drop we'll look to Giroud and Batshuayi," Lampard said. "But for the minute he's doing well. It was his first Champions League goal and I hope we'll see many more and many more performances like that."