Winger / Defender | Fulham | England
You don’t get compared to the likes of Gareth Bale unless there’s something seriously special about you, and that’s the case with Ryan Sessegnon.
He started his Fulham career as a left-back but was soon pushed forward as a left-winger / forward, and that’s when the world was introduced to the real Ryan Sessegnon. At the end of 2017, at arguably the height of his career so far, a hat-trick in 5-4 victory away at Sheffield United made him the first 17-year-old to score a hat-trick in the Football League since Dele Alli. A star was being born before our eyes.
Quick, tricky and with an eye for goal, Sessegnon broke on to the scene in 2016 and hasn’t looked back. Teammate Neeskens Kebano one called him “the future of English football” and he is widely considered to be on of the most exciting young players in the world, regularly featuring alongside the likes of Kylian Mbappe in related long-lists created by online publications with an interest in young talent - including this one!
At the age of 18, he has already made 100 first team appearances in all competitions for Fulham, which is hugely impressive given the nature of both the Championship and Premier League these days.
2018 has been…
… eye opening. He started the year in unstoppable form, with six Championships goals, as Fulham went on the hunt for promotion to the Premier League. As expected, such form very quickly caught the attention of the likes of Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur, who were both heavily linked with the teenager throughout the January transfer window. A trend that would continue the following summer. On the pitch, though, Sessegnon just let his football do the talking as he played a key role in Fulham’s promotion. He was subsequently voted the the Championship’s Young Player of the Year and was included in the 17/18 Championship Team of the Season.
It has been a difficult start to life in the top-flight for Fulham but Sessegnon has been a rare shining light for the Cottagers - he became the first player born in the 2000s to score in the Premier League during a 4-2 defeat to Cardiff in October.
However, his goals have dried up since, mostly due to a return to a more defensive role for the majority of his appearances so far in 18/19. At the beginning of the year his progress in a more attacking role was there for everyone to see but that has been prevented somewhat in the top-flight.
A consistent run of games in the left-wing or inside-forward position under Claudio Ranieri should hand him the opportunity to really show us what he’s capable of once more.
A move away from Fulham could potentially be a jump too soon for Sessegnon, but that will all depend on where they are come the summer transfer window. Relegation would almost certainly lead to a transfer to a Premier League club.
The key, though, will be getting even more games under his belt and returning to the kind of form that had him being tipped for big things. With goals and assists in his game there’s so much more to come from Sessegnon, and in 2019 a call-up to the England first-team could also be on the cards if his career continues to take an upwards trajectory.