Left-back Scott Malone has had on a positive influence on Ryan Sessegnon, according to Slavisa Jokanovic, despite the fact that the two are vying for the same spot in the Serbian’s starting XI.
Sessegnon, at just 16, has been turning heads all season thanks to a series of all-action displays that have attracted admiring glances from a number of top clubs around Europe.
One of those clubs is Tottenham and Jokanovic was keen to emphasise the pivotal role that Malone had played in helping the England youth international blossom, despite the competition for places.
“He [Malone] is one guy who supports him and who helps him to improve himself at this beginning of his professional football career.
“If he [Sessegnon] has a great football career, probably he won’t forget this player who was his mentor.”
Sessegnon, who will sign a deal with Fulham on his 17th birthday, caught Jokanovic’s attention last season as a 15-year-old and the Whites boss admitted that although he initially had reservations about drafting such a young player into the first team, he was quickly won over after watching Sessegnon play.
“A member of the department recommended him as a 15-year-old. I said ’15 years old, OK’. I wasn’t sure that this was going to be an especially good decision.
“Generally, last season, he was working only one or two days with us, but after a few minutes you can observe that this player is very good on the pitch, his body shape is perfect, he makes himself play easy. These qualities are partly natural and partly due to the work of the academy.
“In the pre-season, I decided to bring him with us to start working with us and one moment during the season I spoke with my assistant and I said ‘listen, I have to put this kid in the team’.”
“The age of the player is less important. This club gave him a chance and he has given many favours back. I expect in the future he can be even better and improve our team.”
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