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Ryan Sessegnon has a dash of Gareth Bale about him

by 18/02/2018 19:17:00 0 comments 1 Views
  • Ryan Sessegnon scored his 12th league goal of the season on Saturday
  • The 17-year-old has struck seven times in his past eight appearances for Fulham
  • Slavisa Jokanovic's side are in good form and  have moved into play-off places

By Harry Slavin For The Daily Mail

Published: 17:30 EST, 18 February 2018 | Updated: 17:30 EST, 18 February 2018

There may have been nothing too remarkable about Ryan Sessegnon's 52nd-minute strike for Fulham against Aston Villa, but make no bones about it, this kid is a bit special.

The 17-year-old scuffed home his 12th league goal of the season on Saturday, seven of which have come in his past eight appearances.

He ran to the corner to celebrate, kissing the badge as he did so, but this will not be a long-term relationship at Craven Cottage. Matty Targett knows that. He is all too familiar with the script from his time at Southampton.

Ryan Sessegnon celebrates after scoring in Fulham's win over Aston Villa on Saturday
Ryan Sessegnon celebrates after scoring in Fulham's win over Aston Villa on Saturday

Ryan Sessegnon celebrates after scoring in Fulham's win over Aston Villa on Saturday

A Saints academy product, Targett knows that the cream of the crop are destined for bigger and better things, and having only joined Fulham on loan last month, he has seen enough through his partnership on the flank to draw comparisons between Sessegnon and the very best to come through the ranks at St Mary's.

Gareth Bale had five goals and 40 Championship appearances under his belt from a deep lying position on the left by the time he turned 18.

Fulham's protege doesn't reach that age until May, and with 17 goals over two seasons already in the second tier from a similar berth on the left, it's clear why Targett doesn't hesitate to put him in the same bracket as the Real Madrid superstar.

'He's definitely right up there with the likes of Luke Shaw... Gareth Bale you could even say,' Targett said. 

The 17-year-old is embraced by team-mates after scoring in the 2-1 win over Aston Villa
The 17-year-old is embraced by team-mates after scoring in the 2-1 win over Aston Villa

The 17-year-old is embraced by team-mates after scoring in the 2-1 win over Aston Villa

Sessegnon now has 12 goals this season and seven in his last eight appearances
Sessegnon now has 12 goals this season and seven in his last eight appearances

Sessegnon now has 12 goals this season and seven in his last eight appearances

'But the main thing for him is he has a lot of years ahead of him, he needs to keep working hard, keep his feet on the ground.

'He's a massive threat and to score over 10 goals already in the Championship for any midfielder that's good, but he's 17! It's a massive achievement and he's got a massive future. 

'As you saw from the goal today, it wasn't the cleanest finish but he's in the right place and got the goal.'

Manager Slavisa Jokanovic is inclined to agree and knows the England Under 19 starlet is destined for bigger and better things. 

It is a team effort that gets you out of the Championship, however, and there was more besides the teenager's goal on Saturday to suggest Fulham are a side pulling in the right direction.

Aleksandar Mitrovic's contribution may not have been as obvious as Sessegnon's but it didn't go unnoticed by his new boss. 

Floyd Ayite stole the show with a wonderfully taken long-range effort in the second half
Floyd Ayite stole the show with a wonderfully taken long-range effort in the second half

Floyd Ayite stole the show with a wonderfully taken long-range effort in the second half

Making his first start since his loan move from Newcastle United on deadline day, the Serb gave his side a new dimension up front, with his hold-up play the catalyst for many swift breaks from midfield.

It was his movement in the final third, Jokanovic insists, that did as much to provide the opening goal as Ryan Fredericks's cut-back.

'His movement for the second goal was fantastic and he created the space for the goal,' said the Fulham boss. 'He showed the quality, he showed the power and did a great job for us. 

'We expect we can bring him in and prepare him, get him in better shape and he can help us in the future.'

A fine day for Fulham was capped by a wonderfully taken goal by Floyd Ayite, who found the net from all of 45 yards after capitalising on a mistake from Villa goalkeeper Sam Johnstone.

Slavisa Jokanovic was full of praise for Fulham debutant Aleksandar Mitrovic at the weekend
Slavisa Jokanovic was full of praise for Fulham debutant Aleksandar Mitrovic at the weekend

Slavisa Jokanovic was full of praise for Fulham debutant Aleksandar Mitrovic at the weekend

Fulham are now unbeaten in 10 in the league, ending their opponents' run of seven consecutive victories in the process.

It was the least of Steve Bruce's worries this week, with the manager admitting that even the sport can provide no escape from a difficult fortnight in which he lost his father and is coping with a very ill mother. 

He was thanked by a journalist for speaking to the press after the game, in which he confirmed top scorer Albert Adomah will be out for 'some time' with a hamstring injury.

'It's my job,' came Bruce's reply.

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