Canadian-born Chelsea defender Fikayo Tomori called up to England

Chelsea's Fikayo Tomori applauds to supporters at the end of the Champions League Group H soccer match between Chelsea and Valencia at Stamford Bridge stadium in London, Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019. (Frank Augstein/AP)

Chelsea defender Fikayo Tomori, who is eligible to represent the Canadian men’s national team, has been called up by England manager Gareth Southgate for October’s Euro 2020 qualifiers against the Czech Republic and Bulgaria.

If Tomori appears in either game, he’ll become cap tied to England.

Tomori, 21, was born in Calgary and represented Canada’s under-20 team before switching to England’s youth teams and winning the 2017 U-20 World Cup. He’s also eligible to play for Nigeria through his parents.

Having lived in England for the vast majority of his life, Tomori’s call-up by Southgate comes as no surprise to Canada coach John Herdman.

“I’ve spoken with [Tomori] and I’ve spoken with his representatives,” Herdman said before the second leg of the Canadian Championship final at BMO Field. “They’ve got a very clear plan for Fikayo that doesn’t involve Canada at this stage. It’s very clear what his ambitions are and who he wants to play for internationally.”

Herdman also said he’d been monitoring Tomori’s progress since becoming Canada’s coach, as is customary with all Canadian-eligible players.

The centre-back has started six games for Chelsea in all competitions this season, including two Champions League matches. The Blues have only lost once in the Premier League – 2-1 to Liverpool on Sept. 22 – since Tomori became a regular fixture in Frank Lampard’s lineup.

A product of Chelsea’s academy, Tomori broke through at club level while on loan at Derby County with Lampard last season. He started 46 games as Derby reached the Championship’s promotion playoff final where they lost to Aston Villa.

After the sale of David Luiz to Arsenal coupled with Kurt Zouma’s early struggles for Chelsea, Lampard chose to hand Tomori his full Premier League debut in a 2-2 draw with Sheffield United on Aug. 31. He’s been a regular fixture for the London-based club ever since.

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