Frank Lampard (Chelsea) told Fikayo Tomori on whether to play for Nigeria, England or Canada


The Chelsea manager is aware that Nigeria football administrators may soon begin to make attempt to convince the youngster to play for the three-time Africa champions but his advice to the defender is to ignore all talks and focus on his football.

Fikayo Tomori is enjoying a breakthrough season in the Chelsea senior team, the crowning moment of which has been his long-range strike away at Wolves which opened the scoring in a convincing 5-2 win.

It is this rich run of form that has raised concerns that Nigeria will try to convince Tomori to switch national allegiances just as they have attempted to do with his team-mate Tammy Abraham.

Tomori can play for any of England, Nigeria or Canada. He is already an England Under-21 international but is also eligible to play for Nigeria through his parental lineage. Having been born in Calgary, Alberta, the young centre back has also represented Canada at youth level.

However, Lampard thinks now is not the time to make that choice but a time to focus on making a success of his club career.

It’s his choice. I wouldn’t tell him where to play internationally. But he has played for the U21s and if he continues with the form he has and keeps improving then there would be potential for England if Gareth chooses to select him. It’s his call,” said Lampard.

I think he shouldn’t worry about it too much at the minute. Just worry about the way he is playing and the way he trains. It will be a nice problem for him if he is eligible for three, he can choose which one he wants.

Tomori – who has started in each of Chelsea’s last three games – is set to take to the field on Sunday as Chelsea seek to nullify the threats of Liverpool’s trio of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.

That is a huge step up for the 21-year-old who was on loan at Derby County last season, the same club where Frank Lampard took his managerial bow. The Blues boss has reposed massive trust in the Chelsea academy graduate and is delighted that Tomori is seizing the opportunity to make a name for himself in the game.

I was aware of him (Tomori), not too much, just from a distance of being aware of players of the youth team at the time who were playing at a good level. Myself and John [Terry] would keep an eye on young players coming through,” Lampard told reporters.

At Derby, it happened nicely for me because we needed a centre-back, we only had two last year, actual centre-backs at the start of the season. I knew Fikayo was available and the rest is short-term history, I suppose. I made the call. It was a nice fit in the end. Having known someone, and Jody had worked closely with him as well, so we knew his attributes and know where he could improve. The real credit of Fikayo is the way that he has approached it all. His mentality from when he came to Derby and to today has been brilliant. From beginning to end, that is why he is improving. I just trust in him. I trust in him as a player, the way that he trains every day, it’s the kind of thing I want to see daily and the way he plays. Of course he is a young player, like all young players there are moments where he can improve and that’s something he constantly needs to work on. I trust in him; hence, I wanted him as part of the squad. That wouldn’t have mattered who might have gone or not. My idea when I came here was to keep Fik part of the squad anyway because I trust him to come and play here. Where better a place to play than the club he has come through at?”