Tammy Abraham will not be content to live in the shadow of Fernando Llorente at Swansea City – according to the manager who nurtured the young striker’s dramatic impact last season.
Abraham is set to make his Premier League debut for the Swans in their opening match of the campaign at Southampton on Saturday.
The 19-year-old England U21 star is likely to lead the line in the absence of the injured Llorente with manager Paul Clement already having given the former Bristol City forward a prominent role in pre-season games.
It was at Ashton Gate last season – during his first loan spell away from his parent club Chelsea – that Abraham loudly marketed his huge potential with 26 goals for the Championship club.
But beyond the goals, Robins manager Lee Johnson says there was a maturity and a determination that marked Abraham out from the crowd.
“Tammy has all the attributes to be a top Premier League player and I’ve no do doubt he will become one,” says Johnson.
“It’s not just his ability. He has a great attitude, works hard, listens to advice, and has this really focused determination to succeed.
“He also has this great inner confidence, which is fantastic for a striker. Some people might think he’ll be a fringe player for Swansea this season, but I think he can be much more than that.
“He will expect to be more, as well. He wants to play games and he’s eager to progress. If I know Tammy, he’ll be expecting to start every game and he’ll make people realise he’s very disappointed if he’s not.”
Abraham has already scored three times in four pre-season matches for the Swans – including last week’s final friendly at home to Sampdoria.
With Llorente out with a broken arm and his return date uncertain, the spotlight is likely to fall on Abraham in the opening games of the Premier League campaign, but Johnson insists the rangy 6ft 3in Londoner will thrive under the scrutiny.
“He doesn’t really get fazed by attention, he thrives in it. He wants responsibility and he enjoys it. In that sense, he’s very mature.
“He’s also got all the skills. He’s quick, strong for a young kid who was playing against much older player last season, and he reads the game well.
“He’s good in the air, but most importantly he’s a goal poacher. He has that instinct and knack of knowing where to be and where the ball is going, which all good strikers have.
“He’s a good kid, too, and he’ll be very welcome back at Bristol City whever he wants to visit, but I think he’s going to be a big success in the Premier League.”
Abraham’s year in Bristol only came after a carefully planned and detailed pursuit by Johnson that involved not just convincing Chelsea, but also Abraham and his family.
Clement has had head start on that front, since he was able to utilise his own connections with Chelsea where he spent four years coaching from 2007.
From what he has gleaned so far, the Swans boss has recognised the same potential and qualities that made Abraham provide such an impact last season.
“There’s questions at the moment because he’s untested at this level, but at the other levels he’s played at he’s been very effective – he’s scored goals,” said Clement.
“In his first year in the Championship he was top scorer. He’s very motivated, very determined to make the step – and I like that in him, I can see the fire in his eyes.
“He’s working hard every day and you can see he’s a goalscorer, he gets in the right positions at the right times. I’m excited to watch him start playing for us.”