Ryan and Steven Sessegnon have told tonight’s Evening Standard that they feel so comfortable at Craven Cottage because ‘Fulham trust young players‘.
The teenage twins gave a wide-ranging first senior interview to the London evening paper and downplayed both their meteoric rise from being stars of junior football to have an international impact. Ryan has just collected the PFA’s Championship player of the month award for January – after scoring six league goals in the space of a month – whilst Steven has followed up his World Cup winning exploits with England’s Under 20s by making his senior debut for Fulham and helping the club’s under 18 side reach the last eight of the FA Youth Cup.
Ryan told the Standard’s Vai Bhardwaj that he and his twin brother had always aimed to make it in the professional game:
I wouldn’t say it’s weird because this is what we’ve set out to do. Some people may think it’s a surprise what we’ve achieved since we left school. But we’ve been aiming for things like that.
Both brothers believed their progression owes much to the pathway put in place by Fulham’s academy director Huw Jennings and patient nurturing from the club’s head coach Slavisa Jokanovic. Ryan said:
Obviously it’s harder now for young players in the Premier League to go up from the academies into the first teams. But for us to be at Fulham — we’re not in the Premier League — it’s a bit of an easier step. It’s harder, too, because the Championship is such a demanding league. Fulham trust young players.
He insists he’s happy to play wherever Jokanovic puts him, but admitted he has enjoyed his spell on the left wing since Matt Targett joined from Southampton on loan.
It’s harder, too, because the Championship is such a demanding league. Fulham trust young players. I’m enjoying my position on the left wing because I think I’m affecting the game more in terms of goals and assists. But I’m happy to play wherever I’m told.
He also reiterated that, despite constant transfer speculation linking him with a move away from the Whites, his focus has solely been on furthering Fulham’s promotion push over the last few weeks. His continued inclusion in the senior side is a key factor in his happiness at the Cottage.
It was flattering to be linked with other clubs but my main focus was on Fulham. My aim has always been to try and help the club get back into the Premier League. I didn’t pay too much attention to it. I’m always focused on my job at Fulham. As you can see in every league game I’ve started, each game I try to be better than the last. I’m enjoying having this good season. That is down to the game time I’m getting.
Steven, who turned in a composed performance at centre back as Fulham’s under 18s came from behind to beat Plymouth and reach the quarter finals of the FA Youth Cup at Home Park last night, says he is hoping to emulate Ryan’s progress with the senior side in due course.
It’s great to see Ryan doing so well. I just want to be up there with him. I keep working hard and soon I’ll be up there, too. It’s not a big thing for us to stay at the same club. We managed to do it and it’s great because we can push each other on and be around each other and do well. It just happened. We try to give each other a lot of advice from another person’s perspective. Advice is welcome.