Striker Tammy Abraham has struggled for form since Roma's shift in tacticsHe scored 17 Serie A goals last season - a record among English players in ItalyBut the former Chelsea star has struggled to adapt since Paulo Dybala's arrivalAbraham risks losing his spot in Gareth Southgate's England squad for Qatar Click here for all the latest World Cup 2022 news and updates
As Jose Mourinho continues to inspire a technical revolution at Roma, one player has struggled to keep up: Tammy Abraham.
The former Chelsea star has wilted away in comparison to the form he was showing 12 months ago, having become the most prolific English striker in the history of Italian football last season.
Abraham almost single-handedly dragged Roma to Europa Conference League success with his clinical goalscoring under Mourinho.
Tammy Abraham has lost last season’s magic touch since Jose Mourinho changed Roma’s style
With 17 Serie A goals in 37 appearances during his debut campaign in Italy, the England forward boasted an exceptional statistical record, beating legends Vincenzo Montella and Gabriel Batistuta during their first year in the Italian capital.
Incredibly, Abraham holds one statistic in common with Batistuta: the 25-year-old scored his first goal for Roma on the second day of the championship just like the Argentine star, and from that moment he began to score an impressive glut of goals.
Yet, at the start of the 2022-23 season, everything seems to have changed. Mourinho has chosen to alter his style of football at Roma, opting for a much more technical and less direct approach.
The ex-Chelsea striker scored 17 Serie A goals last campaign – a record amongst Englishmen
And it has clearly been a challenge for Abraham understanding the new movements and and situations within the system on a tactical level: he seems to be lacking awareness as the focal point of the side.
Since the rebrand, Roma’s side has attacked the pitch in width as opposed to in length and this shift has severely limited the service to Abraham.
The striker used to utilise the movement behind his opponents and through balls from midfield to score.
A year ago, he won the hearts of the Roma faithful by carrying the team on his shoulders. Today, he sports a meek and haunted demeanour when he misses a chance or receives a clumsy pass with his back to goal.
Mourinho has tried to evolve the Italian giants into a more technical outfit so far this campaign
Dybala signing has ruined Abraham
The presence of very technical players such as Nicolo Zaniolo and above all Paulo Dybala has thwarted Abraham’s role in attack. Although he struggles in tight spaces, the target man is expected to play quick football in triangles all too frequently.
While Mourinho has been getting the best out of Dybala, Abraham has lacked the same productivity he demonstrated last season. In truth, no partnership has yet emerged between the pair.
It spoke volumes that the Portuguese boss benched the striker in one of Roma’s most important matches of the Serie A campaign against Inter last weekend.
Opting for a front three of Dybala, Zaniolo and Lorenzo Pellegrini, Mourinho’s men triumphed 2-1 at the San Siro. Frankly, Abraham is no longer considered irreplaceable as he was last campaign.
Dybala has netted six goals in all competitions since joining Roma on a free transfer in July
Andrea Belotti, who also came off the bench alongside Abraham on Saturday, has also taken away minutes from Abraham since his arrival this summer, and Roma no longer need an attacker standing motionless in the penalty box.
Mourinho now wants a team that knows how to manage the ball without obsessively looking for direct vertical passes. Roma must have more tactical solutions than they demonstrated last year in order to improve as a football club.
But Abraham’s biggest problem, however, is Dybala: the feeling on the pitch between the two does not seem to be working.
Although Abraham and Dybala are very close friends off the pitch, this great bond has not yet rewarded a fruitful attacking partnership.
Zaniolo seems to be much more useful than the English striker when playing close to Dybala and Roma have automatically chosen to rely on the Argentine’s left foot rather than Abraham’s right in order to find the correct balance.
Dybala is scoring more than Abraham and has become much more ruthless than the former Chelsea star.
The striker, 25, risks losing his spot on the plane to Qatar as England prepare for the World Cup
World Cup hopes are waning for Abraham
Abraham could well be playing with stress and tension because he is afraid of losing his sport in the national team.
The upcoming World Cup in Qatar is drawing closer every day and his poor athleticism has negatively impacted Mourinho’s current opinion of the striker.
Abraham must try without delay to adapt seamlessly under Mourinho’s new way of playing. Throughout his career, Dybala has always profited more with physically strong forwards close to him like Mario Mandzukic and Gonzalo Higuain.
Gareth Southgate benched the Roma striker during England’s clashes with Italy and Germany
Abraham is probably experiencing the saddest moment since he decided to leave Chelsea and wear the Roma shirt.
According to Repubblica, Abraham received several offers from Premier League clubs this summer, with Newcastle especially eager to land his signature.
If he continues to score sporadically at Roma, Abraham will struggle to make Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the World Cup, or at least play a marginal role for the the national team in Qatar.
The forward must do more – and he must do it quickly.