Fikayo Tomori: England call-up a 'dream' for Chelsea defender

Fikayo Tomori: Chelsea defender speaks to the press after his England call-up
Fikayo Tomori: Chelsea defender speaks to the press after his England call-up

Fikayo Tomori admits his England call-up was "a dream" after a whirlwind 12 months for the Chelsea defender.

The 21-year-old, who was born in Canada and represented them at under-20 level, spent last season on loan at Sky Bet Championship side Derby but has established himself in Frank Lampard's team this term.

That has earned him a call-up to Gareth Southgate's England squad for the Euro 2020 qualification double-header against the Czech Republic and Bulgaria.

Tomori, who was picked along with in-form Blues team-mate Tammy Abraham, told a press conference: "I've taken everything as it has come.

"This happened quite fast and quickly, but it's been a good 12 months. I've been working hard, listening to people, trying to improve myself and it's going well.

"It's a bit cliched but it is a dream (to be called up). Growing up in England and seeing the players playing at Wembley, it was such a good feeling.

"It's indescribable. I tried to take it in as much as possible, but it was a very proud moment.

Tammy Abraham, left, is congratulated by Fikayo Tomori after completing his hat-trick for Chelsea
Tammy Abraham, left, is congratulated by Fikayo Tomori after completing his hat-trick for Chelsea

Frank Lampard: Chelsea manager salutes fans at Stamford Bridge after their win over Brighton
Frank Lampard also managed Fikayo Tomori at Derby last season

Watch: Premier League Goal of the Month contenders for September including Fikayo Tomori

"I found out after the Lille game (in the Champions League). The manager came up to me and said 'you are going to be in the England squad tomorrow'.

"I was sitting down at the time and I just sat there with Tammy and Mason (Mount) smiling at me. It was a crazy feeling because I wasn't really expecting it, but I'm very happy."

Tomori, who is also eligible to play for Nigeria, wants to represent England.

He added: "The call-up solidifies that. Being eligible to play for three countries was a good thing and a bad thing.

"I have just taken everything as it has come and once I got that call-up to England, there wasn't really a doubt in my mind that I was going to commit.

"Being here now I just want to try and get my first cap and then try and get more after that as well."

Tomori was on holiday with Abraham in Marbella during the early stages of last summer's World Cup and the pair followed England's progress keenly.

"We watched their first game on holiday and we watched the penalty shootout against Colombia together as well," he said.

"Of course I'm an England fan. I grew up here and went to school here. To be part of this is a dream."

Southgate briefs England players on UEFA's three-step racism protocol

England boss Gareth Southgate during their win over Bulgaria
England boss Gareth Southgate

Gareth Southgate has briefed England's players about UEFA's three-step racism protocol ahead of the upcoming international against Bulgaria, Tomori has confirmed.

There are concerns about that match at the Natsionalen Stadion Vasil Levski, with Southgate taking the unusual step of expressing concerns a month in advance about the potential for racism in Sofia.

The England manager has now spoken to his players about the potential issues in Bulgaria on Monday, explaining in detail the system in place should players be subjected to racism.

"It was just about if it does happen, which unfortunately it does sometimes, what we need to do, what the protocol is," Tomori said.

"He just kind of briefed us about what was going to happen, and we should be prepared for that because we know that sometimes you can go to countries and stuff like that can happen unfortunately.

"We are just there to play the game and whatever happens in the stands and whatever, we'll let the authorities deal with that. That is all the meeting was about.

"Sometimes it happens, unfortunately.

"We have to kind of deal with it in a way, know what we need to do, try not to overlook it. We have to talk about it.

"I think everyone knows that it happens, and we all know that some people maybe they think it is right or they don't really understand it. We have to be prepared for that."

UEFA's three-step procedure sees the referee at first stop the match and ask for an announcement demanding the immediate halt of such racist behaviour.

The second step, if the racism does not cease, sees the referee suspend the match for a reasonable period of time and request the teams to go to the dressing room as a further announcement is made over the public address system. If the racist behaviour continues, the match will be abandoned.

Tomori said: "I think loads of people in the dressing room here have different experiences of racism so everyone has their own kind of take on it and the ways they deal with it.

"The manager yesterday told us what the steps are that need to be taken. I am sure everyone will take those steps."

Tomori is glad the protocols are in place to deal with such issues ahead of England's first trip to Bulgaria since September 2011, when a 3-0 win was overshadowed by racist abuse.

Ashley Young was subjected to monkey chants in Sofia, but the Bulgarian Football Union (BFS) only received a 40,000 euros (£34,000) fine by UEFA for "discriminatory" chanting and for the lighting and throwing of fireworks.

The stadium will already be partially closed for England's latest visit due to the racist behaviour of their supporters in the 2-1 loss in the Czech Republic in June.

The BFS is required to block off at least 5,000 seats for the visit of Southgate's men and display a banner with the wording '#EqualGame'.

Bulgaria's return fixture against the Czechs is also due to be played at a partially-closed ground due to racist behaviour in the 3-2 home loss to Kosovo in their other June fixture.

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