Fulham Wonderkid Ryan Sessegnon: How Good Can He Be?

 • by Thomas McIlroy
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Ryan Sessegnon has been one of the standout stars of the Championship this season.

At just 17-years-old, he’s already made 49 league appearances for Fulham, scoring ten goals

Any decent British youngster who plays on the left will be dubbed the new Gareth Bale, but it is easy to see why he is attracting interest from the likes of Manchester City, Manchester United, Real Madrid and Liverpool.

Liverpool had looked set to land him earlier on in the summer but he rejected their advances and extended his stay with Fulham.

Now he is also, according to Sky Sports, a Tottenham Hotspur transfer target. If Danny Rose, subject of Manchester United transfer rumours, leaves then the North Londoners are keen to replace him with Fulham’s teen sensation.

Fulham boss Slaviša Jokanović is a big fan of the left-back, tipping him for the top of the game.

He said: “[Ryan] has showed the right personality, he is only 16 years old, but he is 100 per cent going to be in the highest level soon but I am enjoying working with him.

“I want to use him in my squad for a long time, he will shine in the future.”

Just who is Ryan Sessegnon?

Born in May 2000, Sessegnon has been part of the set-up at Fulham since he was eight.

His twin brother Steven is also on the Whites’ books.

The 17-year-old is first and foremost a left-back, but can play further forward, or even on the other wing.

Sessegnon was a regular with Fulham’s under-18s the season before last and was promoted to the first team in pre-season.

He made his full debut for the Whites in the EFL Cup victory over Leyton Orient last August, as Fulham won 3-2, before going on to make his first Championship start in the 1-1 draw at Leeds just seven days later.

And it was not long before he was breaking records.

Just four days after that Leeds match, Sessegnon scored his first senior goal in the 2-2 draw with Cardiff.

That goal saw him become the first player born in 2000 to score in one of the top four flights of English football.

And aged 16 years and 94 days, be became the youngest player to score in a Championship match.

Sessegnon also has international experience, and has played for England at under-16, under-17 and under-19 level, including in the European Under-17 Championships last summer.


You would imagine most 16-year-olds to be nervous with the ball, but Sessegnon looks very composed.

His goal against Hull City in last season’s FA Cup saw him get the ball on the left, play it inside before making the run into the box, getting the ball back and deftly finishing past the keeper.

And you can see his composure against Burton below.

Fulham's Ryan Sessegnon Fulham's Ryan Sessegnon Fulham defender Ryan Sessegnon

Sessegnon picks the ball up at the centre of the pitch, flicking it over the opposition man, before playing the right pass pass to Tom Cairney.

Fulham's Ryan Sessegnon Fulham's Ryan Sessegnon Fulham's Ryan Sessegnon

Above you can see again how, when in dangerous positions, Sessegnon keeps his composure and picks the right ball, playing in Cairney, before going back for the return pass and finding his man in the box.

For the then 16-year-old to be so calm on the ball at senior level is rare.

Fulham's Ryan Sessegnon Fulham's Ryan Sessegnon Fulham's Ryan Sessegnon

On his Championship debut against Leeds, he found himself up against two defenders, but quick feet and concentration saw both of them left for dead as he bombed down the line.

The teenager does not look out of place at all among grown men.

As someone who plays predominantly as a left-back, you would hope Sessegnon has shown himself to be a good defender.

And he isn’t afraid to use his pace and get in the right position to make a tackle, as you can see below.

Fulham's Ryan Sessegnon Fulham's Ryan Sessegnon Fulham's Ryan Sessegnon Fulham's Ryan Sessegnon Fulham's Ryan Sessegnon

But in both of the above cases, his positioning was questionable and that’s something we’ll come to later.

Although his first three goals for Fulham were tap-ins, his positioning was key. He managed to make space for himself in the box and get to the ball first.

Fulham's Ryan SessegnonFulham's Ryan Sessegnon Fulham's Ryan Sessegnon Fulham's Ryan Sessegnon

Against Cardiff, he awaited the cross from Ryan Fredericks, and while he may not have got on the end of the first ball, he got free from Jazz Richards and was there first after Cairney’s shot came off the bar.


As a defender, you would hope Sessegnon’s defensive nature would come first, but he is definitely an attacking player first and foremost.

As we mentioned earlier, he has been likened to Bale, and maybe like the Real Madrid man, in the long term, he will end up playing further forward.

But at the moment, while he’s playing as a defender, he needs to be aware of his defensive responsibilities.

As you can see below, he occasionally gets a bit overexcited and forgets he is a defender and is left way out of position.

Fulham's Ryan Sessegnon Fulham defender Ryan Sessegnon

Against Rotherham, as you can see below, his loose pass saw him caught up the pitch.

Fulham's Ryan Sessegnon Fulham's Ryan Sessegnon Fulham's Ryan Sessegnon

And although his pace enabled him to get back and make a tackle, it would be better if he didn’t make the mistake in the first place.

But you can’t criticise him too much. He is only 17 and has a lot of developing to do.

If Jokanović can keep him on the right track at Fulham in the next few years, he could well be the next Bale and go to the top – or at least be worth as much as £40million-rated former Whites academy product Moussa Dembélé.