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Ex-Chelsea defender Tomori has developed 'nasty' streak to cope with Ibrahimovic at AC Milan

11:39 AM GMT+4 04/10/2022
Fikayo Tomori Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Fikayo Tomori admits that he has developed a “nasty” streak after working with Zlatan Ibrahimovic on a daily basis at AC Milan.
  • Made a move to Italy in 2021
  • Working with an enigmatic Swedish striker
  • Has become a better player

WHAT HAPPENED? The England international defender made a brave career call when leaving Chelsea for San Siro in 2021, in an initial loan agreement, but has seen that decision justified by 72 appearances in Italy and a Serie A title triumph. The 24-year-old believes he is now a better player, with opportunities to lock horns with enigmatic Swedish striker Ibrahimovic in training allowing him to pick up important lessons when it comes to positional play and work ethic.

WHAT THEY SAID: Tomori has said of the progress he has made in Milan: “Training against Zlatan, you can't really be too timid because if you are, he'll score 10 goals against you. So you have to be a bit tougher, you have to be nasty in a sense. Obviously, having a player like him, who's played against the world's best, is going to make me a better defender.

“He's such a well-rounded figure and having him in a dressing room, especially last season when he was injured for a lot of it, we could still see the impact he had. Just being there with the team, his voice, the way he sees the game, having him around the squad definitely helped us, for sure.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Chelsea were unable to find a regular role for academy graduate Tomori in their long-term plans, with the talented centre-half adding on his departure from west London: “It was a weird one. 2020 was a difficult year for everyone with Covid, but talking personally for me I would have liked to be on the pitch more. That didn’t happen for whatever reason, and I was itching to play. Milan gave me the opportunity and now I’m here.”

IN THREE PHOTOS:

WHAT NEXT FOR TOMORI? A man still hoping to force his way into Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar is readying himself for a Champions League reunion with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.