Chelsea defender Fikayo Tomori has described the very different challenges involved in playing in the Championship and the Premier League.
In his fourth season of regular senior football, Tomori has made 15 appearances for Chelsea, breaking into the first team after a series of Championship loans, most recently at Derby County with his current manager Frank Lampard.
He has impressed in a season which has seen him experience Champions League football for the first time in his career and also play for England, receiving his first cap against Kosovo back in November.
Speaking with Chelsea’s official website, Tomori had some thoughts to share on his new life in the Premier League, and how he had been prepared by the unique experience of Championship football.
“You’re suddenly thrust into this men’s team environment and playing against seasoned professionals who have played the game for 15 or 20 years in some cases,” said the defender, who has also featured for Brighton and Hull City.
“It’s a big transition because you have to train well, try to get yourself into the team and then you’re fighting every week for three points that could get you promoted, into the play-offs or save you from relegation.”
But having reached that milestone, Tomori added that the Premier League requires a different kind of preparation.
“You have to deal with the physical side of the game but then from the Championship to the Premier League,” recalled Tomori. “It’s a bit more of a mental change where you have to be even more focused.
“You have to be more conscious with how you take care of your body and the little things you can do to improve to get yourself that extra five per cent. Each milestone and level has its own adaptation period where you have to figure out what you need to do and how you can better yourself.”
Tomori admitted that one of the hardest parts of the step up to the Premier League was the tactical variety that comes with facing some of the world’s best players every week.
“It is tough because you come up against different strikers and different systems that teams use,” he added.
“Some teams might play two strikers up top, some may play one and then you have teams like Liverpool – we all know how Roberto Firmino likes to drop in, with Mo Salah and Sadio Mane running in behind so you need to have that concentration all the time.
2 – Fikayo Tomori has scored as many goals in 21 appearances for Chelsea in all competitions this season (two) as he netted in 55 matches for Derby County last term. Day-light. #EmiratesFACup #HULCHE
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 25, 2020
“Everybody knows that if you make a mistake in the Premier League, you’re likely to get punished so being able to stay focused and making sure you do everything at 100 per cent is another part that you have to grasp quickly.”