New signing Fikayo Tomori has told RamsTV that the opportunity to work with Jody Morris again was a ‘big factor’ in him joining Derby County.
The 20-year-old has joined the Rams on a season-long loan deal from Chelsea, where he worked with Derby’s assistant manager at the Blues’ state-of-the-art Cobham training ground for a number of years in the youth set-up.
Together, they were serial winners. They lifted the FA Youth Cup and were also crowned UEFA Youth League champions – success that eventually led to the centre back stepping up to the Chelsea first team and then heading out on loan to enhance his senior experience.
Speaking about his former Under-18s coach, Tomori says he is excited to be linking back up with him in his first venture in first team football, alongside Stamford Bridge legend Frank Lampard.
“First of all, I am happy to be here – hopefully we can have a good year,” he told RamsTV.
“I’m here to learn, I’m here to play games and I’m here to improve. I want to make the fans happy this year.
“I had some good years under Jody at Chelsea. We won the FA Youth Cup a few times, the youth Champions League, but overall, he’s just a good guy.
“I am excited to be linking back up with him for this year and, hopefully, we can enjoy some more good times together.
“He’s an intense guy, but that’s because he’s a winner. He wants to do well all the time and is very demanding when it comes to himself and working under him was a big factor in my decision to come here.”
This, of course, is not Tomori’s first taste of Sky Bet Championship football.
The centre back played 10 games in all competitions as he helped Brighton & Hove Albion claim promotion to the Premier League in 2017, before he linked up with Hull City on a season-long loan last year and helping the Tigers retain their second-tier status – alongside fellow loanee, Harry Wilson.
With contrasting experiences of gaining promotion and battling against relegation, the Canadian-born England youth international feels he is heading to Pride Park a more rounded player.
Speaking about his loan spells, he added: “I came into the team at Brighton in the January and at that time they were already flying.
“They had already gone close to promotion the year before and when I got there, everybody was just so focused on getting promotion. To be part of that was crazy really.
“Last year, I wanted to go out and play a bit more and I managed to do that at Hull last year. You learn different things in football. Last year was about fighting in games in order to get those results, trying to keep your head and stay calm in difficult circumstances.”
Hoping to part of another promotion push however, Tomori is keen to help his new club go one better than they did last season.
“It’s exciting times,” he added. “Last year, this club got to the play-offs and have come close to getting promoted a lot over the last few years.
“I’m here to be here and I’m happy to have this opportunity. Hopefully this year, we can go one better.”