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Sessegnon named in England U21 European Championship squad

Fulham full back Steven Sessegnon has been named in England’s under 21 European Championship squad this morning.

The 20 year-old, who is currently on loan at Bristol City, has been selected by England under 21 manager Aidy Boothrooyd for the finals, which get underway in Hungary and Slovenia later this month. Sessegnon, who has won three caps for England at under 21 level, has made eight first team appearances during an injury-hit loan spell at Ashton Gate. His twin brother Ryan, on loan at Hoffenheim this term, is also in the squad.

England have been drawn alongside Portugal, Switzerland and Croatia in Group D. Their campaign kicks off against the Swiss in Koper on 25th March.

Speaking to the Bristol Post, Sessegnon said:

“I found out about it [the call-up to the European Championship squad] a couple of days ago. Having been around the set-up before it wasn’t my first time but I’m still very proud and very happy. Throughout my recovery and the strengthening of my hamstring, it was an aim of mine.

Asked for his thoughts on England’s chances in the tournament, Sessegnon was characteristically positive:

“Always believe – my age group and the groups around us have got some really good players and as a group, we get on really well. I believe we can do a lot of great things.”

Sessegnon reveals fitness regime

Fulham star Ryan Sessegnon has revealed he has put on a stone in weight and hit the gym in a bid to make himself more competitive in the Premier League.

Sessegnon played a key role in helping Fulham secure promotion to the Premier League, scoring 16 goals last season as they came up via the play-offs.

The 18-year-old has made a steady if unspectacular transition to life in the top division but has started six of Fulham’s opening eight games.

Sessegnon is currently preparing for England U21s’ final Euro 2019 qualifier in Scotland on Tuesday but feels his fitness regime will help him hold his own in the Premier League.

“I’ve got in the gym a few times this season to get bigger and stronger to face better and bigger players,” he said.

“There is a physicality where I had to become a bit bigger to face bigger players.

“I feel bigger, I feel faster and I feel stronger and I think you can see that in some of the games where my speed has got me out of a bit of trouble.

“I did it knowing I’d be playing in the Premier League. I knew it’s very physical in parts and in the position I play in I need to be strong.

“It was my idea to get in the gym. Fulham have pushed me as well to be in there two or three times a week, not just weights but flexibility as well to help my all-round body.

“We do yoga once every two weeks. A woman comes in and we have a little class and it helps as well.”

Sessegnon has been tipped as a future senior star for England, although he has seen Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho elevated to Gareth Southgate’s squad ahead of him.

He admits talk of a senior call-up keeps him motivated, with Sessegnon having helped the England U21s book their Euro 2019 spot with a 7-0 win over Andorra on Thursday.

“It keeps you focused, it makes you happy knowing they are thinking of you but it drives you to be better and improve your game so you can get into the senior squad,” he added.

“You saw in the World Cup they had a specific way of playing. It was controlled possession, a lot of attacking entries in the final third and you can see that with all the age groups.

“Gareth has a way of playing and you can see that in all the age groups. It’s exciting to be an English player at the moment.

“With the U21s we’ve not got another major tournament with the national team and it’s another opportunity to win another tournament.”

Briggs injured on international duty

Matthew Briggs was due to continue his fledging international career with the England Under-21s in Norway tonight – but has been injured in the warm-up.

Nathan Baker has taken his place in the line-up for this evening and there’s been no word yet on how serious the injury is.

Briggs plays as England U21s earn another win

Fulham’s Matthew Briggs continued his impressive start to his fledging international career with another cap for the England under-21s as Stuart Pearce’s side swept to a 3-0 win over Iceland in Reykjavik.

England maintained their 100 per cent start to qualifying for the Euro 2013 tournament thanks to a fine hat-trick from Arsenal’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. This was expected to be a much stiffer test for Pearce’s side after their 6-0 romp past Azerbaijan at Vicarage Road last month as Iceland had beaten England in their last meeting, but the visitors were into their stride as soon as the contest kicked off. Liverpool’s Martin Kelly was denied by a fine save from Arnar Darri Petursson before Marvin Sordell fluffed a good opening down the right and Kelly went close again from corner by Henri Lansbury.

England did eventually take the lead after 12 minutes when Oxlade-Chamberlain made the most of defensive hesitancy to collect a loose ball, sprint towards goal and finish calmly across the goalkeeper. Three minutes later and the former Southampton winger doubled England’s lead. He was indebted to goalkeeper Petursson who failed to hold Nathan Delfouneso’s cross and allowed Oxlade-Chamberlain the simplest of finishes. The 18 year-old completed his treble three minutes after the break when he tricked his way past a couple of defenders and somehow beat the goalkeeper from an acute angle.

England’s victory was marred by injuries to Delfouneso and Martyn Waghorn. Both suffered hamstring strains with the Aston Villa forward being replaced by the Leicester striker midway through the first half, only for Waghorn to have to substituted on the half mark, with Chelsea’s Josh McEarchan being introduced as his replacement.

ICELAND: A Petursson, K Jonsson (Steindorsson 54), Eyjolfsson, Laxdal, Snorrason, Valdimarsson, Sigurbjornsson, R Sigurjonsson, Margeirsson, Sverrisson (Hannesson 57), Johannsson.  Subs (not used): AT Magnusson, Gudjonsson,H Magnusson, Thorarinsson, A Sigurjonsson.

BOOKED: Steindorsson, Valdimarsson.

ENGLAND: Butland, Flanagan, Briggs, Dawson, Kelly, Oxlade-Chamberlain (Barkley 82), Rodwell, Henderson, Lansbury, Sordell, Delfouneso (Waghorn 24, McEachran 63). Subs (not used): Amos, Smith, Baker, Lowe.

BOOKED: Kelly.

GOALS: Oxlade-Chamberlain (12, 15, 48).

REFEREE: C Turpin (France).


Briggs earns another U21 call-up

Matthew Briggs has earned another call-up to the England under-21 squad for the forthcoming qualifiers against Iceland and Norway.

The Fulham left back made his Under-21 debut in last month’s Euro 2013 qualifying opener against Azerbaijan. The 20 year-old made a goal in a comprehensive 6-0 win for England at Vicarage Road. Stuart Pearce has included Briggs alongside the uncapped Jason Lowe and Ryan Bennett.

Pearce’s side travel to Reyjavik to face Iceland on October 6, before taking on Norway in Drammen on October 11 in two games that are sure to shape the Group 8 table.


GOALKEEPERS: Ben Amos (Manchester United), Jack Butland (Cheltenham Town – on loan from Birmingham), Declan Rudd (Norwich City).

DEFENDERS: Nathan Baker (Aston Villa), Joe Bennett (Middlesbrough), Ryan Bennett (Peterborough United), Matthew Briggs (Fulham), Craig Dawson (West Bromwich Albion), Phil Jones (Manchester United), Martin Kelly (Liverpool), Adam Smith (MK Dons – on loan from Tottenham Hotspur), Kyle Walker (Tottenham Hotspur).

MIDFIELDERS: Ross Barkley (Everton), Gary Gardner (Aston Villa), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Henri Lansbury (West Ham United – on loan from Arsenal), Jason Lowe (Blackburn Rovers), Josh McEachran (Chelsea), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal), Jack Rodwell (Everton), Jonjo Shelvey (Liverpool).

FORWARDS: Nathan Delfouneso (Aston Villa), Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur), Marvin Sordell (Watford), Martyn Waghorn (Hull City – on loan from Leicester City), Danny Welbeck (Manchester United), Connor Wickham (Sunderland).