Tom Cairney: I was blown away by how physically blessed youngster dealt with Leeds
By Harry Sykes
Tom Cairney has revealed how he has been blown away by the development of Fulham sensation Ryan Sessegnon this season.
The left-back, 16, has emerged as one of the outstanding young players in English football in a remarkable campaign in which all the elite Premier League clubs are beating a path to his door.
Liverpool, Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester City have been heavily linked with big-money bids for the youngster, who does not turn 17 for another 11 days.
Sessegnon may still be on scholarship terms at Fulham but he is so highly rated among his peers that he was recently week named in the PFA Championship team of the season.
He has also been an integral player in the west London’s side stunning Championship run-in, which ended with a place in the play-offs..
Fulham playmaker Cairney, who is also been eyed by the big clubs after having an excellent campaign of his own, has been staggered by Sessegnon’s progress after he first served notice of his potential with an outstanding performance at Leeds at the start of the season.
“He’s the most level-headed boy I’ve ever seen,” Cairney told the Sun. “At the start of the season the manager put in him in at left-back away to Leeds. I remember thinking, ‘This boy is 16 and it’s Leeds away, how will he deal with it mentally?’
“But ever since then he’s taken everything in his stride.
“He’s physically blessed and I think he’s going to go from strength to strength to strength.
“He’s got seven goals from left-back this season which is incredible. To get in the Team of the Year at 16 – he’s just done his GCSEs!
“I don’t really understand it but it’s one of them that comes round every so often. He could be the next Ashley Cole.”
Sessegnon, who can play at both left-back and on the left wing, has made elite clubs sit up and take notice with his precocious Championship displays this season.
He has scored seven goals from 29 first-team matches in the campaign, including two in Fulham’s stunning 3-1 win at Newcastle last month, and also weighed in with four assists, remarkable tallies for a player who is not only foremost a defender but also one who is so young.
In other Leeds United news, it can be exclusively revealed that the club registered a new signing last month.