Chelsea manager Frank Lampard says Fikayo Tomori’s first England call-up is a “natural progression” despite the defender having only played five Premier League games in his career.
The 21-year-old centre-back has been included in the England squad for the upcoming games against the Czech Republic and Bulgaria.
Tomori impressed playing under Lampard while on loan at Derby County last season, but before this season, his only Blues appearance came as a substitute.
However, he has started six games in total this term, with another outing from the bench.
Lampard said he relied on Tomori “hugely” at Derby last season, where his performances were a key factor in their run to the Championship play-off final.
“People would have easily doubted if he could step up to the Premier League yet because he is young,” Lampard added.
“But he has shown that he has great qualities – and he has shown that in the Premier League.
“It’s another natural progression [as with Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount] and I am really pleased, he deserves it. He has been a dream to work with day in, day out for the last 15 months or so.”
Lampard said Tomori, Mount and Abraham – as well as England regular Ross Barkley – have all had “big smiles” on their faces following their call-ups.
“It is great news for them, but it is just the start,” Lampard added.
“The minute any standards drop or complacency kicks in then they will all suffer.
“I am pleased they smile, they need to take this now, something to add to their armoury and say ‘okay I am an England player, I am in the England squad – I need to show even more, game in and game out for us’.”