Scout Report: Ryan Sessegnon, profiling Fulham's talented teen full-back
Ryan Sessegnon's impressive performances have made him one of the highly sought youngsters in the English game.
For budding footballers, playing in the lower leagues of English football can prove beneficial to their career. The likes of Frank Lampard, David Beckham, and Harry Kane spent time in the lower leagues in a bid to find the requisite playing time to help their development as a player.
One particular youngster who is forging a name for himself amongst the footballing community is the young Ryan Sessegnon of Fulham. The 16-year-old left-back has caught the attention of several Premier League giants with his performances so far at Fulham.
We take a look at reasons that make Sessegnon one of the highly sought youngsters in English football.
The Roehampton-born teenager joined Fulham’s academy at the tender age of 9 and has risen through the ranks at the club with his impressive performances. After making waves in the youth sides, Sessegnon was finally handed his senior debut with Fulham against Lleyton Orient in a League Cup tie at just 16 years and 81 days of age.
His first League appearance came in a match against Leeds United on 16th August 2016 and he has gone from strength to strength to establish himself as the first choice left-back at the club.
He already has 24 appearances under his belt for the Cottagers across all competitions, with 17 of them being starts. He looks destined for several more in the coming years.
Style of play and strengths
A typical modern-day full-back, Sessegnon loves to get forward and help his teammates in their attacking endeavours. His pace on and off the ball has already troubled numerous defenders in the Championship as the youngster has often shown the courage to take his man on and beat him with his pace.
In the 1238 minutes the youngster has been on the pitch in the Championship, he has attempted 40 take-ons and completed 17 of them, which is a good statistic for a player of his age and experience.
What has impressed many pundits is the utilisation of his pace, and his eagerness to find pockets of space to move into the attacking third. The teenager’s vision off the ball is that of a seasoned attacker.
He has created 11 chances thus far (two of which resulted in goals) and has bagged an incredible 6 goals for his side across all competitions; attacking statistics which make for good reading.
While his attacking threat is often the talking point, what many forget is that the 16-year-old is a willing and effective contributor in defence. He uses his pace to great effect to stop the opposition launching into counter attacks and is not afraid to get into a 50-50 tackle when presented with an opportunity.
Having won 53% of his tackles in the Championship thus far, he is a player who is effective in his defence and up the field in attack. Despite being only in his teenage years, Sessegnon has shown great composure on the ball and is tidy with his passing as well as in possession.
At 16 years of age, it is only obvious that the player is still developing both physically as well as technically. Perhaps the biggest weakness of the player is his frail physique as he has often found it tough to deal with the physicality of life in the lower division.
Another aspect of his game that needs improvement is his decision making. The player has the tendency to overdo things and often involves himself in unintelligent duels.
While he has a tendency to get into good positions on the pitch, his final delivery is rather poor and for him to truly establish himself as one of the best full-backs in the English game, he will need to put in better crosses into the box.
Cottagers boss Slaviša Jokanovi has been a keen observer of Sessegnon’s progress through the youth ranks and it was the former Chelsea man who handed the player his debut for Fulham.
He has tipped the youngster for great things and was quoted as saying, “He is a real winner and he is just 16 years and three months. He is a real young player. He is a very interesting project as a player, but it is better not to put him under any pressure.”
With the likes of Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur vying for his signature, the Serbian will be keen to tie the youngster for a few more years. Recent reports suggest that the player is ready to sign a 4-year-contract with Fulham when he turns 17 in May.
However, with close to two months still left for his 17th birthday, it can be safely assumed that several Premier League clubs will approach the player and as always in football, nothing is written in stone when it comes to the future of players.