Chelsea’s Tammy Abraham says Virgil van Dijk is “quite annoying”

Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham says Virgil van Dijk is “quite annoying” to play against, and the toughest defender he has faced.

Abraham has made a fine start to the season since returning to Stamford Bridge from a loan spell at Aston Villa, scoring eight goals in eight appearances at the start of 2019/20.

The 21-year-old has found the net against Wolves, Norwich, Sheffield United and Southampton, but drew a blank in Chelsea’s 2-1 defeat by Liverpool last month.

And Abraham says Van Dijk, who was named UEFA Player of the Year in August for his performances last season, is the most difficult centre-back he has ever encountered.

“He’s a beast,” Abraham said. “He’s just good at what he does. He’s experienced. I try to use my tricks in my head but his understanding of the game is top drawer.

“It’s to do with little things. Movement. My movement in the box, some defenders don’t pay attention to me – they are only focused on the ball.

“With him, it’s kind of both: he’s paying attention to me and the ball, knows where I am, knows where I want to go, follows me. It’s quite annoying for a striker – just leave me alone!”

Abraham is set to make his competitive debut for England in the upcoming international break, with Gareth Southgate’s side set to face Czech Republic on Friday and Bulgaria on Monday.

And the Chelsea frontman, who has committed his international future to the Three Lions despite also being eligible for Nigeria, says he hopes to learn from England captain Harry Kane.

“I’ve come here to steal ideas,” he added. “Harry Kane is one of the best strikers in the world. I’ve come to learn the other parts of his game, add it to my game as well.

“You see his finishing, left foot, right foot, just take that into my game so when I go back I can work on myself and practise.”

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