Ryan Sessegnon hasn’t had the easiest starts to his football career, as it has been riddled with inujuries and lack of game time.
With still a few months of the season to go, it has already been a rollercoaster of a campaign for the 21-year-old, who didn’t get his first minutes in the Premier League until the Leeds tie in November.
Since then, Sessegnon has found himself on and off the bench and still battling to keep fit.
The youngster made just his fourth league start of the season in Tottenham’s 3-2 victory over Man City at the Etihad and was one of many players who produced a solid performance.
Sessegnon had some solid spells of defending and also tried to help his side in the attacking half of the field, before being substituted in the 93rd minute.
Sessegnon made the move to Tottenham, from Fulham, in 2019 and in his final season with the Championship side he had scored 15 goals and registered six assists in 46 league appearances.
The 21-year-old explained that Mauricio Pochettino was a big part of his move and shortly after his shift to north London, the Argentine already had high hopes for the youngster.
“The good thing is that he has the capacity to play in different positions,” Pochettino admitted. “That’s an interesting quality and maybe he can play in different positions for us. It will be very helpful.
“You can be a very good player, but you need a platform, team-mates and good coaching staff to help you. Then you need time and luck and training hard and hard work.”
In September 2020, a month before the 21-year-old’s loan move to Hoffenheim, the Portguese head coach also gave his verdict on the former Fulham player.
“Ryan Sessegnon is an investment by the club, an emerging player that we want to improve,” Mourinho explained.
The youngster made 23 appearances in the Bundesliga but returned to the capital for the 2021/22 season with yet more injury problems.
This season has not been smooth sailing for Sessegnon, who has already had to deal with another change in manager as Antonio Conte replaced Nuno Espirito Santo in November.
At the end of the Italian’s first month in charge, the London born player started the Europa Conference League game against NS Mura and it was a big chance for Sessegnon to impress Conte.
Ahead of the European game, the 52-year-old spoke about Sessegnon and the ability he believes he has.
“Ryan in my opinion has great potential,” Conte admitted. “We have seen in the past he suffered a lot of injuries. Now we’re trying to work in the right way with him.
“I can’t wait to see his performance because he’s a talented player, very young with great space for improvement.”
The youngster also spoke to the media about getting back to playing after his injury.
“For me it’s massive, like you say, to really kickstart my career as it has been a very stop-start situation since I’ve been at the club for various reasons,” the 21-year-old admitted.
“It’s a time when I really need to kick on and show what I can do.”
However, it was a disappointing display as after just half an hour, the 21-year-old was sent off.
The ongoing injuries continued but with Sergio Reguilon out with Covid-19 and Sessegnon fit, he started the match against Wolves.
However his luck hadn’t changed and with his side 2-0 down after 18 minutes, it led to the left wing-back being substituted in the 28th minute.
This just added to the bad luck of the youngster but he played 93 minutes against Man City on Saturday and got to show what his experience as both a winger and defender could do in the wing-back role.
Reguilon revealed on Instagram that he was sympton free, but it may still be a risk to start him in Tottenham’s mid-week fixture against Burnley.
Also, with Sessegnon’s solid display against Pep Guardiola’s side, he may feel he deserves to keep his spot in the starting XI for at least another game.
From the latest transfer news to those glorious wins in north London and beyond! There might even be a laugh or two too.
However, the next few months could prove pivotal for the 21-year-old’s career and Pochettino’s advice for Sessegnon will still ring true under Conte.
“It’s always the same – when one is in, one is out. If you plan for him to be on the bench you need to put someone out of the bench,” the former Spurs boss explained when he was in charge in north London.
“That is a problem, but it is about waiting, being consistent and showing his quality and to wait for the opportunity that he will have during the season.”
The youngster has shown his ability to be a versatile player with both offensive and defensive qualities and he has previously been compared with Gareth Bale, who was a key player at Tottenham.
“Each interview just seems to mention comparisons between me and Gareth Bale for some reason,” Sessegnon previously admitted.
“Of course, he is a player that I have looked up to and it’s flattering to be compared to someone like him but at the same time, you want to be your own person.”
The next few months could be crucial for Sessegnon and his Spurs career.
If he can develop further under Conte and stay injury free, he could give Reguilon some serious competition for a spot at left wing-back, which is very suited to him.
However at the beginning of last year and before his return from his loan, the 21-year-old made an admission about his future if he couldn’t break into the starting XI and make himself a “figure in the team”.
“If that isn’t possible next season [2021/22] or in the future then I want to come back to a league or a club to regain that experience,” the London born player admitted.
“If Tottenham want to play in a four of a five, I see myself in a five as a left wing back or in a four I want to fight for that left back spot as well. That’s always the aim, never changed.”
Sessegnon has shown potential and produced performances which have shown his quality, but much like a number of his teammates, he needs to find some consistency to develop into a player that can play week in and week out at Tottenham.