By Nick Mashiter, PA
Tammy Abraham vowed to ignore the rumours linking him with a return to England – but admitted he has heard them all.
The striker joined Roma for £34million from Chelsea last summer and has scored 26 goals for club and country this term.
He is the highest-scoring Englishman across Europe’s top five divisions, while no-one has ever scored more in their debut season for Roma.
🏴 Familiar surroundings...
🐺 Will it be a winning return to England for Roma's Tammy Abraham, Chris Smalling & Ainsley Maitland-Niles?@ASRomaEN | #UECL pic.twitter.com/uH7ToMGOBF
— UEFA Europa Conference League (@europacnfleague) April 27, 2022
Arsenal have been linked with a move to tempt him back to London after just a year in Italy but, ahead of Thursday’s Europa Conference League semi-final first leg at Leicester, Abraham remains relaxed.
He said: “I’m happy playing my football. You hear the little rumours here and there but clearly I’m doing the right thing. I give credit to my team-mates, the staff and manager.
“I was born and raised in England, of course there are many rumours here and there that there are clubs interested but I’m clearly doing something right at Roma if people are interested.
“I have to stay focused, keep doing my thing and I’m happy playing my football.”
Abraham has scored 15 Serie A goals to help fire Roma to fifth and credits boss Jose Mourinho for his form.
The England forward left Stamford Bridge having netted 12 times in 34 appearances last season but failed to convince boss Thomas Tuchel.
“To do what I’m doing now for a great club like Roma, I can’t really describe the feeling,” said the 24-year-old.
“Coming off the back of a difficult season at Chelsea where I wasn’t really playing games to coming here and shining again, it’s like a dream come true.
“I’ve always been a player who never lacks confidence. From a young kid I’ve always scored goals and wanted to win. Even when I score in training I celebrate like it’s a match.
“It was all about being in the right place to bring out the real me. I’m learning more about myself every day.
“It’s been a good season. It’s not over yet, we have important games to play and my focus is this game and to win.
“It was all about someone believing in me. The past manager – Frank Lampard – gave me that chance, he showed real faith in me and that’s when I was producing. It’s the same now.
“When you have belief from the manager it makes you want to do the best you can. It’s just confidence.”
Thursday’s game is Mourinho’s first match back in England since being sacked by Tottenham last year.
He was axed by Spurs on the eve of last season’s League Cup final and is now on the brink of a final with Roma, but the former Chelsea boss holds no fear of losing his current job in the same way.
“I have to admit in my long career with so many things which have happened that one is quite unique, but Mr Levy (Tottenham chairman) is also quite a unique person,” he said.
“For all the work we have all done this season to try to improve the club at every level I think we deserve to be in the final.
“Unfortunately, football doesn’t give you what you deserve and to get there we have to beat a very good team with a very good coach and very good players.
“We have to be at a high level in two matches to reach the dream of taking Roma to a final.”