(Reuters) - Chelsea manager Frank Lampard backed Tammy Abraham to continue his superb form and remain above the senior forwards in the pecking order after the striker opened his Champions League account in Wednesday’s 2-1 victory at Lille.
Abraham celebrated his 22nd birthday with the opener against the French side and Brazilian Willian volleyed home on his 300th Chelsea appearance after Victor Osimhen had equalised, to give Lampard his first win in Europe’s elite club competition.
It was Abraham’s eighth goal in all competitions this season and Lampard hailed the forward’s strong start that has kept the likes of Olivier Giroud and Michy Batshuayi on the bench.
“He’s hungry for goals, physical, gives everything for the team, has quality with the ball at his feet and, while there’s improvement, he’s showing that,” Lampard said in his post-match news conference.
“It’s competitive, the minute Tammy’s levels drop then we will look to Giroud or Batshuayi to see if they are pushing him and if they can come in and make a difference.
“At this moment in time, Tammy’s doing really well. That’s his first Champions League goal and hopefully we will see many more and performances like this.”
Abraham’s recent performances will be hard to ignore for England boss Gareth Southgate, who is set to name his squad on Thursday for this month’s Euro 2020 qualifiers against Czech Republic and Bulgaria.
Despite making two senior appearances for the national team in friendly matches two years ago, Abraham is eligible to play for Nigeria and the forward said he was still undecided about his international future.
“It’s always a privilege to be wanted by both nations,” Abraham told the BBC. “I love both nations and... I’m clearly doing something right for Chelsea. My time will come.
“I haven’t made a decision yet. I’m focussing on the club. I’m from an area where I have grown up with different culture backgrounds. I’m fully aware Nigeria is a massive country.”
Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; editing by Amlan Chakraborty