Fulham face fight to keep talented Sessegnon, 16

LONDON • Ryan Sessegnon confirmed his status as one of the brightest talents in English football by scoring Fulham's winner against Cardiff City aged 16 years and 235 days old on Sunday.

After Stefan Johansen had cancelled out Anthony Pilkington's deflected free kick for Cardiff, Sessegnon popped up to score after Tom Cairney's 33rd-minute shot had come back off the crossbar.

Fulham won the FA Cup third-round match 2-1 away.

It was the second time Cardiff had witnessed the promise of Sessegnon, who was born in May 2000, as he scored his first senior goal against them in August.

On that occasion he became the youngest scorer in both Championship and Fulham history aged 16 years and 94 days old.

Five months on and Sessegnon showed his predatory instincts once more, even if Barrow's Sean Cato's effort against Rothwell in 2011 made him the youngest FA Cup scorer at 16 years and 25 days.

"Ryan is one of the most talented teenagers in England," said Fulham boss Slavisa Jokanovic.

"He has a shiny future ahead of him.

"He's only 16 years old and we have to be careful with him. But yes, he's a very intelligent kid, he's working very hard and has to keep going."

Can the club keep hold of Sessegnon if one of the big guns come calling in this month's transfer window?

The England Under-17 international has been linked to the Premier League's big guns, with Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur all reportedly showing interest.

"It depends on our ambition," Jokanovic said.

"I want Ryan Sessegnon, I want one striker and I want one defender."

Cardiff were totally out-thought and out-fought as Fulham controlled the game with an impressive 71 per cent possession.

THE TIMES, LONDON, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 10, 2017, with the headline 'Fulham face fight to keep talented Sessegnon, 16'. Print Edition | Subscribe