England: Tammy Abraham has looked like a shadow of his former self since Roma switch and could miss World Cup squad
As Jose Mourinho continues to inspire a technical revolution at Roma, one player is struggling to keep up: Tammy Abraham.
The former Chelsea star has faded from the form he showed 12 months ago, having become the most prolific England striker in Italian football history last season.
Abraham almost single-handedly coached Roma to Europa League success with his clinical goal under Mourinho.
Tammy Abraham has lost the magic touch of last season since Jose Mourinho changed Roma’s style
With 17 Serie A goals in 37 appearances in his debut campaign in Italy, the England striker posted an outstanding statistical record, beating legends Vincenzo Montella and Gabriel Batistuta in their first year in the Italian capital.
Incredibly, Abraham has one stat in common with Batistuta: the 25-year-old scored his first goal for Roma on matchday two of the league, just like the Argentine star, and from then on he started scoring an impressive amount of goals.
However, at the start of the 2022-23 season, everything seems to have changed. Mourinho chose to change his style of football at Roma, opting for a much more technical and less direct approach.
The former Chelsea striker scored 17 Serie A goals last season – a record among the English
And it’s clearly been a challenge for Abraham to understand the new moves and situations within the system on a tactical level: he seems to lack awareness as the focal point of the team.
Since the rebrand, Roma’s side have been attacking the pitch in width rather than length and this change has significantly limited Abraham’s serve.
The striker used movement behind his opponents and through balls from midfield to score.
A year ago, he won the hearts of the Roma faithful by carrying the team on his shoulders. Today, he sports a sweet, haunted demeanor when he misses a chance or receives an awkward pass with his back to goal.
Mourinho has attempted to move the Italian giants towards a more technical outfit so far this season
Signing Dybala ruined Abraham
The presence of very technical players like Nicolo Zaniolo and especially Paulo Dybala thwarted the role of Abraham in attack. Although he struggles in tight spaces, the target man is expected to play fast-paced triangle football too often.
While Mourinho got the most out of Dybala, Abraham lacked the same productivity he showed last season. In truth, no partnership has yet emerged between the pair.
The fact that the Portuguese boss benched the striker in one of Roma’s most important games during the Serie A campaign against Inter last weekend speaks volumes.
Opting for a top three of Dybala, Zaniolo and Lorenzo Pellegrini, Mourinho’s men prevailed 2-1 at San Siro. Frankly, Abraham is no longer considered irreplaceable as he was during the last campaign.
Dybala has scored six goals in all competitions since joining Roma on a free transfer in July
Andrea Belotti, who also came off the bench alongside Abraham on Saturday, has also taken minutes from Abraham since his arrival in the summer, and Roma no longer need an immobile striker in the penalty area.
Mourinho now wants a team that knows how to handle the ball without obsessively looking for direct vertical passes. Roma need to have more tactical solutions than they demonstrated last year in order to improve as a football club.
But Abraham’s biggest problem, however, is Dybala: the feeling on the pitch between the two doesn’t seem to be working.
Although Abraham and Dybala are very close friends off the pitch, this great bond has yet to reward a successful attacking partnership.
Zaniolo seems to be much more useful than the England striker when playing near Dybala and Roma automatically chose to rely on the Argentine’s left foot rather than Abraham’s right in order to find the right balance .
Dybala scores more than Abraham and has become far more ruthless than the former Chelsea star.
The 25-year-old striker faces losing his seat on the plane to Qatar as England prepare for the World Cup
World Cup hopes dwindle for Abraham
Abraham may well be playing with stress and tension as he is afraid of losing his national team sport.
The upcoming World Cup in Qatar is getting closer every day and his poor athleticism has had a negative impact on Mourinho’s current opinion of the striker.
Abraham must try without delay to adapt seamlessly to Mourinho’s new way of playing. Throughout his career, Dybala has always benefited more from physically strong strikers close to him like Mario Mandzukic and Gonzalo Higuain.
Gareth Southgate benched Roma striker in England’s clash with Italy and Germany
Abraham is probably living the saddest moment since deciding to leave Chelsea and wear the Roma shirt.
According to Repubblica, Abraham has received several offers from Premier League clubs this summer, with Newcastle particularly keen on securing his signature.
If he continues to score sporadically in Rome, Abraham will struggle to make it into Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the World Cup, or at least play a marginal role for the Qatar national team.
The attacker must do more – and he must do it quickly.
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