Fikayo Tomori reveals how Paolo Maldini has helped improve his game

Fikayo Tomori reveals how Paolo Maldini has helped improve his game since joining from Chelsea, as the defender returns to the England squad.

Paolo Maldini AC Milan Technical Director speaks with Fikayo Tomori
Paolo Maldini AC Milan Technical Director speaks with Fikayo Tomori - IMAGO / Sportimage

AC Milan defender Fikayo Tomori has revealed the role that Paolo Maldini has played in propelling him back into the England squad.

The defender has returned to the England squad for their World Cup qualifiers against Andorra and Hungary, after missing out from the Euro 2020 squad. 

Ahead of making his appearance for the Three Lions, Tomori has shared how Maldini has helped to improve his game since he joined the Italian side from Chelsea last January.

Maldini is considered one of the all-time best defenders in the world and amassed 902 games for AC Milan. He played 126 times for Italy and won five European Cups. He is now back at the San Siro as the club’s Sporting Director after a few years away from football. 

The Milan legend is seen often at the club’s training ground and has taken a keen interest in Tomori’s development since he arrived in Italy.

“When he was speaking to me, I was like: ” this is Paolo Maldini!”‘ the 23-year-old has explained.

 “He is at the training ground every day. So for me, as I defender, I want to impress him.

“Midway through my loan, last season, we had a chat last season and were talking about my game.

“He told me what I need to improve, and he is really engaging. And having a legend like that, when he says something, you are going to listen. It is definitely a nice thing to have him around, and he has been a big help.”


Asked about which area of his game constantly talking with Maldini has helped to improve, Tomori said: 

“He was talking about having my body position right and maybe having an extra look, whether it’s from a cross or maybe when they’re building up.

“The strikers in Italy are nimble. They’re intelligent, and they go off movements rather than maybe trying to beat you for pace or strength or get round the back of you.

“Opening your body and maybe checking one or two more times to know where he is at all times. It is easier said than done, but I’m learning.’

The defender is aware of the pressure that comes with playing for Milan and knows first-hand how the fans are hungry to see the seven-time European champions return to success as soon as possible. 

“Everyone in football knows AC Milan and how big a club they are.” He added.

“There is a pressure to win and a pressure to perform with so many fans in the stadium and around Milan.

“You’d definitely feel the weight and the history of the club. That weight and that pressure brings out the best in me and the best in the team. That kind of pressure and the need to win. It is definitely a driving force.

“Milan for the past few years, it’s been a bit of a funny time, but us back in the CL and fighting at the top of the table in Serie A is a really good time, and I’m really enjoying it.”

Harry Maguire and John Stones were the two centre-back pairing for England during the Euros. But both players are absent due to injuries, and Tomori is keen on impressing Gareth Southgate over the next week.

“I want to show myself on the training pitch, and if I get a chance to play, to do that,’ said Tomori.

“Harry and John played at the Euros. They’ve got a good partnership, and I’m here to help the team as much as possible. I’ve just got to try and show my talent, what I can do on the pitch, and I’m sure everything will happen how it is meant to happen.”