Gareth Southgate explains Tomori's England recall
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England’s Fikayo Tomori says his game has turned a corner in Italy since he started getting daily masterclasses from Paolo Maldini and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The former Chelsea defender, who found himself out in the cold career stalled under Frank Lampard, has been transformed since going to AC Milan on loan.
And after capping his return to form with a recall to Gareth Southgate’s England squad, he insisted it was in down to the advice from the two legends.
“I feel really good in myself, really confident and obviously going to Milan, a different country, it was something different,” he said.
“But having Maldini there speaking to me i was kind of like ‘this is Paolo Maldini’
“He is there every day and I just want to impress him. When I was in the middle to the end of my loan last season, he was really engaging.
“When he says something you are going to listen.”
Tomori, 23, credits Milan legend now Technical Director Maldini with helping introduce a little more aggression into his game.
It is something Southgate has noted he has improved. The former Chelsea man believes Serie A can be a little more gladiatorial with more one v one battles.
With Ibrahimovic, Tomori believes it is the love of winning whether it is in training or in games which is rubbing off on him.
“When I was in training in the summer was on his team playing foot golf and I just knew I had to be sure to win because that’s the effect he has on you,” he said.
“He’s definitely a winner and that rubs off on me.
“There’s this view of him in the media that he can be a bit intimidating but ever since I got there he’s been helping me.
“He is a real leader and when he’s playing you want to make sure you are on the top of your game.”
Tomori admitted he needed a boost after his career stalled under Lampard and feels his England call-up has justified the move to Serie A.
He now has a chance of rebooting an international career which amounted to a solitary cap as substitute appearance against Kosovo in November, 2019.
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“At the end of my Chelsea time it was a frustrating time for me and it was definitely a time when I needed to reflect and think what is is the next step?
“But being here again is a motivation.
“I was disappointed to miss out on the Euros but, although we still have to qualify, representing the country at a World Cup would be amazing.”
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