Fikayo Tomori: An Unfortunate Absentee for England

Fikayo Tomori

When it comes to young centre-backs eligible for England, there’s few, if any at all, better than Fikayo Tomori.

He’s been excellent for AC Milan this season. Cast aside by Chelsea in favour of Thiago Silva, he’s put his head down and worked hard. This attitude alone is highly commendable, but Tomori also has bags of talent to back it up.

He’s technically solid, defensively steady and extremely quick. He’s the ideal centre-half when it comes to pressing high up the pitch.

As we’ve seen before, he can strike a ball, too. Chelsea fans won’t forget his thunderbolt of a strike against Wolverhampton Wanderers back in 2019 any time soon.

Chelsea have a habit of squandering their academy products. Ultimately, they can afford to do so, but it’s a shame for the talented youngsters coming up through their ranks. Tomori looks to be the next, with a permanent move to AC Milan growing ever closer.

However, this has nothing to do with him missing out on the Euros. It begs the question – why has Tomori been overlooked by Gareth Southgate?

Fikayo Tomori: An Underserved England Absentee

Why Has Tomori Missed Out on the England Squad?

Some may say that Tomori was left out due to him not playing in England, but this is a baseless theory. Jude Bellingham and Jadon Sancho will be going to the Euros, both of whom play for Borussia Dortmund.

David Beckham and Owen Hargreaves are historic examples of English players outside of the Premier League playing a role in the England team. Granted, it’s rare for English footballers to play abroad, but far from unheard of.

The likelihood is that Tomori was left out due to his lack of international experience. This, however, presents us with a paradox – how can he gain experience if he’s never offered a chance? He’s not even been involved in the pre-tournament friendlies.

It’s a shame for him and it sends out a negative message to the rest of England’s young stars. As a counterargument, there’s plenty of young blood in the England squad already. Perhaps Southgate wants to achieve a balance between experience and youth, with Tomori’s absence being a consequence of this.

Who Should Tomori Replace?

There’s two immediately apparent answers to this question – Tyrone Mings and Ben White. In the friendlies preceding the Euros, Mings looked shaky at best.

He’s had a solid, if unspectacular season for Aston Villa this season. Generally, he’s been less impressive than his centre-back partner, Ezri Konsa. Mings does bring versatility to the table, as he can be deployed as a left back. As England already have Luke Shaw and Ben Chilwell though, this probably won’t be necessary.

Of England’s centre-halves in the squad, Mings seems like the weakest. He’s not a bad player by any means, but he does have a mistake in him. For his age, Tomori has a much more composed demeanour on the pitch. If Tomori should replace anyone in the England squad, it should be Mings.

Ben White is a superior player to Mings, but is he better than Tomori? Currently, you would have to say yes. He’s great on the ball and is a decent passer, which is an invaluable trait for modern centre-halves to have.

He’s only 23 and has shown great promise at both Brighton & Hove Albion and Leeds United. Some have criticised his inclusion, but he’s a talented footballer and has looked impressive in his limited playing time for England.

Brighton certainly rate him highly. They’ve not been brilliant defensively, but this can be attributed to their cavalier style of football, rather than any of White’s deficiencies.

Ultimately, Fikayo Tomori will have to wait for his chance. However, he’s likely to be a regular in the England team once he finally gets that all-important opportunity.

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