Fikayo Tomori says he’s picked up a ‘nasty’ streak as a defender since joining AC Milan and insists the move has made him ‘cleverer’ too – as he relishes his first visit to Chelsea as an opponent player since leaving the Blues in January 2021
- Fikayo Tomori left Chelsea for AC Milan in 2021 for more first team opportunities
- The England defender has impressed at the Italian giants since leaving Chelsea
- He said that he returns to Stamford Bridge a cleverer defender than when he left
Fikayo Tomori believes he will return to Chelsea new and improved, a little nastier and cleverer than the defender who left.
His ability to predict what is coming next is not bad either.
‘I kind of knew we would draw Chelsea before the draw came out so the fact it has happened now is really exciting,’ AC Milan defender Tomori smiled.
Fikayo Tomori has been established as one of the foremost centre backs in Italy since he left Chelsea for AC Milan
‘It was a suspicion. I just thought it would be Chelsea because I felt it would happen. When it came out I remember my friends were all saying “you knew it, you knew it!”
‘Coming from Chelsea, being English there is probably added motivation.
‘Going back to Stamford Bridge, where it all started is a chance to show myself again.’
Thanks to his prediction coming true Tomori, 24, is looking forward to seeing some familiar faces again such as good mates from his Chelsea academy days Mason Mount, Reece James and Trevoh Chalobah.
They might well spot the difference in Tomori quicker than most as he has immersed himself in Milan and Italy’s renowned culture of defending, as well as that of the wider city and country, since leaving them behind to join Milan in 2021 initially on loan.
Tomori says he will return to London this week a much ‘cleverer’ player since being abroad
‘In Italy they are notorious for being good defenders, tough to beat, being nasty, stuff like that. It’s definitely something I’ve picked up,’ said Tomori, who has one of the game’s very best defenders Paolo Maldini close by as Milan’s technical director.
Training with wily forwards like Zlatan Ibrahimovic is added education.
‘I think I’m cleverer,’ explained Tomori who feels he is also more confident and comfortable in himself. ‘Little fouls or positioning yourself in a way that makes the striker think, those kind of things. Training with Zlatan you can’t really be too timid. You have to be a bit tougher, nasty in a sense. He has played against the world’s best so it’s going to make me better as a defender.’
Tomori’s integral role in Milan’s first title win in 11 years last season underlines how that has happened and fuelled the clamour for his greater England involvement.
The defender credited Zlatan Ibrahimovic for having a great impact on his career owing to his demands and intensity in training
However he did not play in England’s final pre-World Cup games against Italy – at his San Siro home – and Germany last month.
To his credit, Tomori was honest enough to admit he has not reached the level he would want yet this season and he has work to do to suit Southgate’s style.
He said: ‘It’s always an honour to be called up. When I am there I try to give my best and if I don’t play I have got to keep on trying to stay in the manager’s mind, whether that is in England training or in Milan on the pitch. I just have to carry on going.’
Tomori left Chelsea for AC MIlan in 2021 after struggling for first team opportunities in west London
AC Milan will host a special ‘From Milan to Many’ fan event at BOXPARK Wembley in London with Rossoneri legends Alessandro Nesta and Daniele Massaro on 4 Oct from 7pm. The event is part of the AC Milan Trophy Tour in partnership with Emirates, an initiative that sees the Club take the 2021/22 Scudetto Trophy on the road to meet Rossoneri fans around the world
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