Ryan Sessegnon, the boy wonder who has flopped tremendously in the Premier League.
There’s no way to dress it up, Sessegnon has really not stepped up to the mark upon Fulham’s promotion in the Premier League, two goals in 23 appearances isn’t good enough for a player who was rated so highly last season.
Sessegnon won a clean sweep at the EFL awards last season beating out the likes of Ruben Neves, James Maddison and David Brooks to both the Player and Young Player of the Year awards. Since then Neves, Brooks and Maddison have all become key players for teams pushing for the top half whilst Sessegnon can’t get a game for a Fulham team looking likely to be relegated.
But why has this happened? How has last season’s Championship Player of the Year become an afterthought at one of the worst teams in the Premier League?
Sessegnon isn’t the player the media or a lot of fans think he is, he has often been portrayed as a tricky winger who can score goals akin to Gareth Bale or Eden Hazard. This couldn’t be further from the truth, although Sessegnon does play out on the left he is often found doing his best work in the box finding spaces.
Sessegnon is not a winger but a raumdeuter or ‘space interpretor’. This role was invented and the term was coined by Thomas Muller.
A raumdeuter is a player who doesn’t take up a specific area on the field and is given the opportunity to roam, they rely on their mental and tactical strengths rather than physical or technical qualities.
Unlike Maddison, Neves or Brooks Sessegnon’s abilities aren’t as obvious. Where Maddison can score a screamer, Neves pick out a 50 yard pass or Brooks dribble past four men and score Sessegnon’s skill comes with being at the right place at the right time.
Sessegnon has an incredible football mind for his age which allows him to find and exploit space in the final third time and time again. A look at his goal map from last season tells you everything you need to know.
In this goal map which we have created, you can see that the majority of Sessegnon’s goals last season were in and around the six-yard box and barring an exceptional goal against Sheffield United they were all inside the box.
This was never going to be the case in the Premier League with Fulham. The Whites’ squad just isn’t good enough to create these clear cut chances in this division, whereas in the Championship Fulham were one of the best teams in the league.
There is no doubt that Sessegnon could one day be a top player in the Premier League but that isn’t going to be with Fulham due to the team’s quality not being suited to his best attributes.
The perfect fit for the 18-year-old would be at Manchester City playing out on the left wing where he can get onto the end of the low crosses and chances created throughout the squad.
Sessegnon isn’t a Hazard or a Bale, he will never create something from nothing or dazzle you with a bit of individual brilliance. He is more akin to Thomas Muller, finding space in the area and consistently getting on the end of things his teammates create. Although he has the potential to be incredible in that role it just doesn’t suit a team battling relegation from the Premier League.