The young defender had a night to remember in Yorkshire and he is radiating confidence on and off the pitch
Fikayo Tomori is determined to become a more vocal leader after his match-winning display against his first loan club Hull City, which only served to highlight his rise to prominence.
The 22-year-old didn’t score when on loan at the KCOM Stadium two years ago but he rose highest to Ross Barkley’s free-kick delivery to make it 2-0 on Saturday night.
It came after Michy Batshuayi’s earlier goal but Chelsea had to struggle to win with Kamil Grosicki scoring a deflected free-kick after sustained pressure on the west Londoners.
Tomori looked confident and he admits he needs to deliver even more now after establishing himself as a Chelsea player and after earning a lucrative new contract.
“Everything has kind of happened really fast this last year,” Tomori told reporters. “I haven’t really had time to take it in. In the little time I’ve had to think about it, I’m proud of what I’ve done, but it’s only the beginning. I want to achieve more; I want to win some trophies and play more games for England.
“I was playing full-back [at Hull] and, yeah, I wouldn’t say I didn’t foresee it because I wasn’t looking that far ahead. I was just thinking about Hull and trying to do as well as I could for myself. I think at a club like Chelsea, there’s competition for places everywhere.
“You have to be on top of your game and then the manager has to make decisions. He chose to leave me out for some games. I have to respect his decision and try and work hard on the training pitch so when my chance comes, I can hopefully take it.
“Hopefully I’ve given him something to think about and next week I can be in the team. I am not only learning about myself but the way the game is played and how to communicate in a good way. Every single game I am learning and I am trying to relay that to everyone else.
“I think with winning games and playing games it builds confidence. I feel a lot more confident than I was in the beginning of the season so I feel like I have a bigger role to play in the team. That’s whether I am in the team or not I feel like that’s in what I need to bring to the training sessions and the changing room even though I am just starting out.
“Us young players are encouraged to talk in the changing room and use our voices. This season as it has gone on I have tried to do that a lot more. We young players have a lot of personalities even though we are young and we just want to show what we can do.”
Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger have started for Chelsea in the Premier League in recent weeks after a near-constant run in the team from the academy graduate since late August.
Along with his goal, there were a number of key defensive actions to make for a tricky week for Lampard to select the defenders he will use against Leicester City.
Tomori admitted that if his side are as sloppy against Leicester as they were against Hull that they will lose in the upcoming game at the King Power Stadium on Saturday.
“We know that they are a good team and they are having a good season,” he added. “We know they have a lot of threats and today, if we play like we did, we can get punished. If we have chances, we have to take them. We have to defend better.
“I think if we have the chance to kill the game next week, then we should. It is easier said than done but throughout this week we are going to work out how we can stop them and bring our game out as well.
“In the first half, we probably should have had the game won. We knew, especially in the second half, they were going to come at us. They did make it difficult for us and we scored our goal at a good time. They then scored their goal and that made it more difficult for us.”
Tomori has perhaps had some good fortune after seeing Lampard appointed as Chelsea manager after he had a season on loan with the legendary midfielder at Derby County last season.
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Lampard knows Tomori better than anyone and he has seen a change in the defender’s personality.
“Yeah, he has come a long way since the first day he turned up at Derby,” Lampard said at the KCOM Stadium. “There were things he needed to improve, even personality-wise, he was quite quiet and you see a change in his personality and you see the player he has turned into.
“He has played for his country; he has got into the international squad, playing regularly for us and doing very well so I am delighted with his progress.”