Ryan Sessegnon has been the subject of plenty of fevered speculation over the past few months and tonight’s Evening Standard features further rumoured interest from Tottenham Hotspur in the teenager’s signature. The paper has a new angle too, with sports correspondent Tom Collomose reporting that England are monitoring the young star’s progress ahead of this summer’s World Cup in Russia.
Sessegnon’s outstanding performances since the turn of year have been pivotal to Fulham’s growing hopes of promotion to the Premier League and, while most of the Standard’s story centres around the Telegraph’s suggestion yesterday that Tottenham are willing to offer £35m to take him to north London in the summer, the prospect of the Roehampton-born wide man gaining an international call-up before he’s even featured for the England under 21s isn’t entirely outrageous. Collomose says that Gareth Southgate’s assistant Steve Holland has watched Sessegnon other the past month and the seventeen year-old’s eight goals since January must have made a favourable impression.
At this point, Sessegnon would be most likely be considered as potential back-up to the likes of Southampton’s Ryan Bertrand and Danny Rose, who hasn’t featured in the league for Tottenham since Boxing Day as a left back or wing-back as Southgate mulls over fielding a back three in Russia. He would certainly possess plenty of attacking attributes as a forward-thinking wing-back, whilst having the pace to track back as well. Sessegnon’s versatility could work in his favour as being able to fill three positions – left back, wing back and winger, where he has been most effective in his second season in senior football. His penchant for sniffing out chances in the opposition’s penalty area could be an invaluable asset late on in games and Sessegnon isn’t the sort of character who’d be fazed by international football.
Sessegnon’s maturity and reading of the game has impressed seasoned observers throughout the game and has left nobody in any doubt that he could make it to the highest level. Fulham fans will naturally hope his progression comes at Craven Cottage – even with the almost daily linking of his prodigious talent with moves to any of the ‘bigger’ clubs who covet his services – and much may depend on why the Whites can win promotion to the top flight this season. The talented teenager already has experience of winning major tournaments for England, having been named in the team of the tournament as England’s under 19s won the European Championship in Georgia last summer.
The Standard article this afternoon, which has yet more links to Spurs or Manchester United shoehorned in, isn’t the first time this season that the idea of Sessegnon being fast-tracked on to the international scene has been floated this season. Back in November, the Football League Paper’s Adam Virgo urged Southgate to call-up Sessegnon – and I’m surprised the clamour our media’s hankering for young stars in the build-up to major tournaments. Sessegnon’s thirteen goals will have caught Southgate’s eye and, as any England aficionado knows, you’ll need to include a Fulham player if you want to win a World Cup. Fulham’s latest academy graduate following in the footsteps of George Cohen would make quite a story.