Ryan Sessegnon is Fulham’s 17 year old wonderkid who is attracting attention from the top clubs across England for his exceptional performances in the Championship. So far he has scored 11 goals in 33 games despite playing 19 of them as a full back. Ryan isn’t the only talented footballer in his family; he also has a brother playing for Fulham, Steven Sessegnon but is yet to make a senior appearance.
Throughout the season Fulham has generally used a 4-3-3 formation but sometimes experiment with a 4-2-3-1. They try to play a possession-based game, short sharp passing and like to attack teams down the left-hand side due to the pace of Sessegnon on the left, who either plays as an attacking full back or wing forward.
Sessegnon pushes up high on the left regardless of what position he’s playing. With his blistering pace even if Sessegnon is playing as a wing forward, he still drops back to help Denis Odoi either as showing as a passing option or doubling up to defend an opposition player. This means that the London side are covered defensively on the left even when the youngster is playing higher up the pitch, increasing the chances of winning the ball back and launching a counter-attack. Sessegnon’s high work-rate up and down the left allows Odoi to tuck inside and defend the wide space, as a result the left-sided central midfielder can stay higher.
He also works hard to win possession back for Fulham. When he drifts inside centrally and the other team’s goalkeeper plays the ball to the right back, he quickly puts pressure on the full back, forcing him to make a mistake. In addition to Sessegnon’s raw pace, he’s an intelligent player off the ball. When Fulham win the ball back, he either runs wide into space or runs inside centrally to receive the ball. Also when attacking from left back or as a left winger, Sessegnon will stay wide to cross close to the by-line or cut inside looking for an overlapping runner or shoot himself.
The majority of his goals scoring opportunities happen in the space between the penalty spot and the 6 yard box – Sessegnon has a goal poacher’s instinct, his goal vs Ipswich Town show this perfectly. Sessegnon ran into the penalty area, with Aboubakar Kamara running wide to his left; he passes to Kamara moves into space, so when Kamara’s cross fell into the danger area, Sessegnon was there to simply head the ball into the net. A Filippo Inzaghi esque finish.
Despite his natural ability his crossing ability needs to improve as most of his crosses tend to be unsuccessful but his dribbling skills make up for this weakness. Also, his goals per 90 minutes are the best for a defender in the championship; only Aden Flint from Bristol City is close, his defensive stats are impressive too. The problem with Sessegnon playing in different positions, is it’s difficult to fully gain an understanding of his ability. What’s easy to spot is this young kid has pace, great work-rate and intelligence. Man United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham all have scouts monitoring his progress, so it will be interesting to see which Premier League club will snap him up.