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What would Tammy Abraham offer Nigeria?

8:18 AM GMT 16/09/2017
Tammy Abraham
Ahead of Tottenham vs. Swansea, Goal examine why the Super Eagles are pursuing the wonderkid so fervently

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Swansea City loanee Tammy Abraham’s star has been on the rise for a while, as was evidenced during his his displays for the Chelsea youth side that swept all before them by recording back-to-back Uefa Youth League and FA Youth Cup triumphs in 2015 and 2016.

Across those two campaigns, he scored 74 goals in 98 appearances – a truly staggering return even for a youth team player.

However, doubts remained about his ability to display the same scoring consistency at a much higher level. The 19-year-old relishes a challenge, and his move to Bristol City was his chance to prove he could cut it in the Championship, a more bruising league.

The campaign that followed with the Robins cleared those doubts, as Abraham netted 26 goals in all competitions – with 23 of those coming in the Championship – proving that the towering forward was no flash in the pan.

So good was he at Ashton Gate that he became the highest-scoring teenager in two decades of Championship action (a record previously held by Fulham’s Moussa Dembele, who now plays for Celtic).

Bristol City scored 60 times in the league, and Tammy was responsible for 23 (roughly 38%) of those strikes. His performances all season earned him Bristol City’s Player of the Year, Young Player of the Year and Top Goalscorer awards; making him the first player to claim all three awards in the same season.

Based on this evidence, it's easy to see why the Nigeria Football Federation are considering a move to lure the forward from under the noses of England, but what makes him so special, and what will he bring to the Super Eagles?

At his young age, the powerful striker is so clinical and his knack for being in the right place at the right time is exceptional, never mind the manner with which he dispatches his goals with consummate ease.

The 6’4” is cut from the cloth of the old fashioned poacher, a typical fox in the box that lurks around in the shadows, waiting for the right moment to go in for the kill.

It’s no coincidence that the 26 goals he netted for Bristol City all came from inside the penalty box, with a large percentage of those efforts one-touch finishes converted from the area in and around the six-yard box.

He ranked as one of the highest with shots from inside the box and shots from inside the penalty area, which demonstrates where he does most of his damage.

Make no mistake, though, the teenage hotshot has more about him and isn’t just a one-trick pony.

While many forwards rely on service from teammates, the youngster always finds ways of getting involved in play and sometimes drops deep to help the side. His build and prowess with his back to goal is something that can really benefit Gernot Rohr.

Against Cameroon in Yaounde, Odion Ighalo failed to provide an adequate outlet to hold on to the ball and no sooner had the ball landed at his feet than it resulted in a turnover which saw the Super Eagles face a barrage of attacks from the Indomitable Lions.

The strength and physicality of the Cameroonians is something Abraham would have relished, having learned a thing or two from playing in the Championship. Nigeria often looked unable to adapt to the situation against the Lions, and having someone in the ilk of the gigantic forward would have helped with ball retention in an attempt to wait for support to arrive.

Rohr needs other tactical options to employ if easy-on-the-eye football fails to produce the desired results, and someone with the skillset of Abraham totally fills the blank.

 

The jury’s still out on whether Abraham can be an immediate success in the top flight with Swansea.

Knowing the personality of the young forward though, you can be sure he will give everything in an attempt to be a success.

When he does, Nigeria should be ready to pounce. or otherwise risk losing another talent to the English.