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SAMI MOKBEL: England defender Fikayo Tomori fails to convince in World Cup audition… Milan central defender was guilty of two Chelsea goals and his shortcomings must be remedied
- Chelsea took the lead after Tomori and Kalulu struggled to clear a corner
- Tomori was spared by an offside flag after Mount put the ball in the net
- Defender also missed James’ cross which allowed Aubameyang to double the lead
There was a game moment in the first half when Fikayo Tomori dropped his shoulder to escape the attention of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang before guiding the ball out of play. Impressive.
Six minutes later he was again ready to avert danger, well positioned in the AC Milan penalty area to save a header as Aubameyang lay in wait to shoot Chelsea ahead. Very good.
It was a positive start for Tomori, whose chances of going to the World Cup with England next month were thrown into uncertainty last week after he was left out of their roster to play against Germany.
English defender Fikayo Tomori could not convince during World Cup audition at Stamford Bridge
But that was just as well for him on a night that did little to bolster his case to go to Qatar.
Chelsea took the lead in the 24th minute, Wesley Fofana fired home as Tomori and central defense partner Pierre Kalulu struggled to clear a corner.
Chelsea had the ball back in the net shortly afterwards as Tomori chased Mason Mount, who made a delicate lob over his former academy colleague. Tomori and Milan were spared as Mount was narrowly offside, but things didn’t look good.
Tomori was let off the hook just before half time when his loose pass was jumped by Mount, who released Raheem Sterling.
Tomori inexplicably missed Reece James’ cross, allowing Aubameyang to double Chelsea’s lead
Tomori recovered to avoid what would have been a personal disaster. It is his pace of recovery that makes him such a key player for Milan and why, on balance, he should be included in England’s World Cup squad.
But all the speed in the world couldn’t save him in the 56th minute when he inexplicably missed Reece James’ cross to allow Aubameyang, who was stationed behind him, to double Chelsea’s lead.
England manager Gareth Southgate has long felt that Tomori has shortcomings that need to be addressed. That won’t change if he watches this game’s tape.
They are not necessarily big problems: concentration, consistency and composure. And they have to come with experience. We forget that Tomori is only 24.
The Milan defender argues with the referee after being shown a yellow card on a frustrating night
He is still learning the position, but perhaps that is why Southgate is still not convinced that Tomori can play a central role in his plans rather than the peripheral he now occupies.
The centre-back has the raw materials to become a mainstay for Southgate.
However, he is unlikely to find himself front and center of England’s World Cup tilt, although the uncertainty surrounding Harry Maguire could still open up a spot.
Tomori’s time in an England shirt will come – but he will have to wait a while for this proof.