OH, TAMMY TAMMY! TAMMY, TAMMY, TAMMY, TAMMY ABRAHAM!
On target for England after coming on as a second-half sub, the Chelsea striker is getting into his stride on the international stage as well as the domestic.
It can only boost the confidence of the young, promising forward, and the confidence of those around him in the Lions, and in the Chelsea team.
His goal was the cherry on top – a seventh England goal in a European qualifier. Yes, Harry Kane scored a lightning-fast hat-trick – three goals in the space of 17 glorious first-half minutes at a chilly Wembley – but we all know he can do it. Taking nothing away from the Spurs striker’s achievement, the game against Montenegro on Thursday night was also about other, younger England options.
Having Steve Holland sitting alongside manager Gareth Southgate is a distinct advantage to Chelsea’s exciting youthful prospects such as Mason Mount. Holland knows his potential, and has worked with the Lampard Babes in the past; he can give an honest steer to the England gaffer.
Mount did well in the game, in midfield alongside Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and even had the ball in the back of the net himself, only for it to be ruled out by the lino’s flag.
From a Chelsea perspective, the one big disappointment was that Callum Hudson-Odoi, tipped to start as Raheem Sterling’s name was, er, scratched from the teamsheet, sat on the bench, but played no part.
He will be given the nod by Southgate at the weekend.
It was always likely to be between Hudson-Odoi and Jadon Sancho for that spot just alongside Kane, but Sancho was chosen. And, unfortunately for the Chelsea midfielder, did brilliantly – quite possibly his finest game in an England shirt.
This was a magnificent rout of a team thought capable of thwarting and nullifying England’s threat. It was England all the way in a glittering first half. As well as Kane’s hat-trick there was time for the Ox to score an opener, and for Marcus Rashford to score, following up Harry Maguire’s saved attempt.
Not only was it 5-0 at the break, but it was a deserved 5-0. Slick passing, determined possession and a willingness to hassle and tussle for every ball made this a display to revel in.
Inevitably, the second half couldn’t live up to the hype of the first. Although two more goals were added to the tally – one an own goal as England pressed, and one from Tammy – it was less of a spectacle. The momentum couldn’t be sustained, and the 77,277-strong crowd (intriguingly 500 shy of the women’s turnout five days earlier) began Mexican waving, throwing darts and making early forays to the tube.
A strange restlessness settled over Wembley with the match well and truly won, but it didn’t detract from the terrific performance overall, with key participation by two Chelsea stars.