So Ryan Sessegnon is off to Spurs. It has been inevitable all summer, although for the past fortnight I’ve had a distant hope that it might all be off. I guess that’s proven to me, that despite the fact it makes sense financially, I’m gutted that he’s leaving SW6. Here’s to you Ryan Sessegnon…
Sess is a once in a generation talent for a club like Fulham. One of those players who stepped on to the scene pretty much instantly, and quickly became endeared to the fans. Goals can impact young players in unimaginable ways, and ever since he scored in his second Championship appearance against Cardiff, it felt like something special was around the corner for our 16 year old left-back.
Sess, unlike many others, never seemed to let it go to his head. He was more than happy in a squad rotation system with Scott Malone. Sometimes he’d shine, sometimes he’d have a rough ride – but you could tell the whole time that he was learning. You never got the impression that he or those around him felt like he had “made it”, something I feel like you see too much with young players.
However, it was the 2017/18 season where we’ll all remember Sess so fondly. His switch from left-back to left-forward became more obvious as the last season progressed. He was ok defensively, but he was lethal going forward. Slavisa Jokanovic went from using Sess sparingly, to making him the first name on the team sheet.
The stats speak for themselves: 49 appearances, 16 goals, 8 assists. It was a dream season, the kind of season that propels any youngster to stardom. The interest from other clubs had already began, and it became a matter of when, not if.
The thing is, I still don’t think the vast football public quite understand Sessegnon’s game. Some Spurs fans I’ve spoken to, STILL believe his main position is left-back. I can understand that Pochettino might play him there, but if Spurs fans think Sess is going to solve their full-back shortage, then they’re severely mistaken. Then again, I see other fans who look at his stats from 17/18 and deduce that he’s a lightning quick, Theo Walcott style player. Again, watch him play for even 45 minutes of football, and it’s pretty obvious that’s not his game.
The greatest quality that Sessegnon possesses is his footballing intelligence. He has a natural ability to find space like I’ve rarely seen. The greatest example of that was the play-off semi-final second leg against Derby. Richard Keogh had him on a tight leash for 135 minutes. And then he lost him, for half a second. That split second changed Fulham’s entire season.
You may not notice Sessegnon for a couple of weeks, but then he’ll come up with the most important goal of your season. That’s the kind of player top clubs crave, and once you add excellent composure, a precocious attitude and superb technical ability – that’s why he’s been coveted so highly.
So Ryan, all the best at Spurs, it might take you a bit of time, but I have no doubt you’ll flourish. There are not many Fulham departures who I truly wish well, but this is a worthy exception. Fulham loves you more than you will know.