When Gareth Southgate announced his World Cup squad to head to Qatar on November 10 last year, there were several players who could feel hard done by to miss out.
Ivan Toney was overlooked as Callum Wilson got the nod to be Harry Kane’s understudy, while James Ward-Prowse failed to make the cut despite his set-piece expertise and Tammy Abraham was left behind.
Another player that didn’t get a look-in was AC Milan’s Fikayo Tomori. But was it a major surprise? Not really.
There has always been a sense that Southgate has never been entirely convinced by Tomori, and the centre back hardly helped his cause by producing two disappointing performances against Chelsea in the Champions League just weeks prior to Southgate naming his 26-man squad.
Tomori had a torrid time during Milan’s 3-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge, and was then sent off in the first half of his side’s 2-0 loss in the reverse fixture the following week.
Fikayo Tomori has bounced back well from missing out on the World Cup to star for AC Milan
He has played a key role in their run to the Champions League semi-finals this season
Rio Ferdinand admitted afterwards that Tomori had likely harmed his chances of playing for England in Qatar with his displays against his former club, and he was proved right.
But Tomori has bounced back from that disappointment to star on the biggest stage in the second half of the season.
After returning from a hip injury in February, he has gone straight back into Milan’s starting line-up, and played a pivotal role in their unlikely run to the semi-finals of the Champions League.
Milan were expected to lose to Tottenham in the last-16, and were given even less of a chance in their quarter-final clash with Serie A runaway leaders Napoli, but triumphed on both occasions.
Tomori missed the first leg of the Spurs tie through injury, but has since come back in and Milan have conceded just once in their subsequent three Champions League games.
The Rossoneri have defied the odds time and time again in Europe this season, and their success has been built on having a solid defensive unit that Tomori is a key part of.
But it would be doing Tomori a disservice to focus solely on his form during Milan’s recent European run. He has been a standout performer ever since arriving in Italy in January 2021.
Having fallen out of favour under Frank Lampard at Chelsea, Tomori moved to the San Siro on an initial loan deal but there was plenty of doubt over whether he would be able to jump ahead of the experienced pair of Alessio Romagnoli and Simon Kjaer in the pecking order.
Yet he went into the team almost immediately and never looked back, making it a no-brainer for Milan to sign him permanently that summer.
Tomori has been a standout performer for Milan ever since arriving from Chelsea in 2021
In his first full season at the club, Milan ended their 11-year wait for the scudetto, conceding just 31 goals in their 38 matches with Tomori at the heart of their success.
Stefano Pioli’s men have been left behind by Napoli in the title race this term, and Tomori did suffer a pre-World Cup blip that cost him a place in Qatar, but his statistics prove how consistent he has been over the past two seasons.
According to Stats Perform, Tomori ranks in the top 10 for Serie A defenders since the start of the 2021-22 season when it comes to successful passes, tackles won, blocks and possession won. He has also not made a single error leading to a goal.
Southgate is believed to have reservations about Tomori’s ability on the ball, but the 25-year-old has a passing accuracy of 87.89 per cent during this period, which puts him 13th on the list of Serie A defenders to play more than 2,000 minutes.
And how has he shaped up in the Champions League this term against Europe’s elite? Again, his numbers make for impressive reading.
He sits tied-fifth for defenders in the tackles won and blocks categories, and tied-13th for possession won. His passing accuracy is almost identical to his Serie A figure, sitting at 87.11 per cent.
This highlights how Tomori has developed into a well-rounded defender since making the bold call to try his luck away from home comforts.
His aggressive, front-foot style allows him to win the ball back for his team, and he rarely gives the ball away when in possession. He also has blistering pace, allowing Milan to play a high line, safe in the knowledge Tomori has the speed to get back and recover any dangerous situations.
Having left England as a promising yet raw prospect, Tomori has matured and is now shining on the domestic and European stage with Milan.
So, could a return to England be on the cards?
Tomori’s impressive season has garnered attention from Manchester United and Tottenham who are both keeping tabs on the defender.
Erik ten Hag currently has Raphael Varane, Lisandro Martinez, Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof to call upon at Old Trafford, but Varane has struggled with fitness issues over the last two years and Maguire’s future at the club is far from certain.
Meanwhile, Spurs have conceded more goals than any other side in the top half this term, and badly need someone of Tomori’s class in their backline.
But Milan are keen to keep Tomori and he still has over four years remaining on his contract, meaning it would take a huge offer for them to even consider selling one of their biggest assets. And would Tomori even want to go back to England right now?
It could boost his international prospects – it remains a mystery how Tomori only has three caps for his country since making his debut in 2019.
Perhaps it has been a case of ‘out of sight, out of mind’, with Southgate preferring to stick with his options from the Premier League rather than turning to one of the best defenders Serie A has to offer.
Man United are keeping tabs on Tomori as Erik ten Hag considers bolstering his defence
Gareth Southgate may be more inclined to pick Tomori if he returns to the Premier League
England are hardly blessed with centre backs just over a year out from the Euros, and Tomori could play his way into the side if he goes back to the Premier League where Southgate can watch him every week.
Things could not be going much better for him at Milan at the moment, though, and he has a Champions League semi-final to look forward to.
Tomori is more than good enough to play for a top Premier League club, and as the summer approaches he has options available.
Having made all the right calls over the last two years, he can be expected to continue that trend when deciding his future in the coming months.
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Sports Event Casino Handicap Description
|PK||0||It means not giving in to each other, and winning 1 point wins all.|
|0-50||0/0.5||Indicates that when the handicap team is tied with the transferee team, the team betting on the handicap loses 50%.|
|0 loss||0.5||Indicates that when the handicap team is tied with the transferee team, the team betting on the handicap loses.|
|1+50||0.5/1||When the handicap team wins the handicap team by 1 point, the team betting on the handicap wins 50% and wins all 2 points.|
|1 level||1||Indicates that when the handicap team wins the handicap team by 1 point, the two teams will tie and win by 2 points.|
|1-50||1/1.5||When the handicap team wins the handicap team by 1 point, the team betting on the handicap loses 50% and wins all 2 points.|
|1 loss||1.5||When the handicap team wins the handicap team by 1 point, the team betting on the handicap loses all and wins by 2 points.|
|2+50||1.5/2||When the handicap team wins the handicap team by 2 points, the team betting on the handicap wins 50% and wins all 3 points.|
|2 flat||2||Indicates that when the handicap team wins the handicap team by 2 points, the two teams will tie and win all 3 points.|
|2 losses||2/2.5||When the handicap team wins the handicap team by 2 points, the team betting on the handicap loses 50% and wins all 3 points.|
|3+50||2.5||When the handicap team wins the handicap team by 2 points, the team betting on the handicap loses all and wins all 3 points.|
|3 losses||2.5/3||When the handicap team wins the handicap team by 3 points, the team betting on the handicap wins 50%, and all 4 points win.|
|3 levels||3||Indicates that when the handicap team wins the handicap team by 3 points, the two teams will tie and win all 4 points.|
|3-50||3/3.5||When the handicap team wins the handicap team by 3 points, the team betting on the handicap loses 50% and wins all 4 points.|
|3 losses||3.5||When the handicap team wins the handicap team by 3 points, the team betting on the handicap loses all and wins all 4 points.|
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Winning the Game: This is one of the most common sports betting variants where players bet on which team or athlete will win the game before it starts.
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Specific Event Markets: This type of betting usually involves specific events in the game, such as first score, player scoring, free throw percentage, etc., and the punter must predict whether the specific event will occur or be achieved.
Online betting: This type of play refers to betting while the game is in progress, and the punter can change the bet at any time and make a decision based on the real-time situation of the game.
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