Antonio Conte’s coaching and tactics could ignite the career of forgotten Tottenham talent

0
93

Ryan Sessegnon will continue his return to the training pitches at Hotspur Way this week and while there must be caution surrounding him, Antonio Conte’s arrival could just be the boost the young wide man needs.

The 21-year-old England U21 international has had a nightmare with injuries since his £30m move to Tottenham from Fulham in the summer of 2019.

Dogged by hamstring problems, including arriving with a serious injury to the muscle picked up at the European U21 Championships, the speedy wide man has made just 14 appearances for Spurs since that move which also saw Josh Onomah head in the opposite direction.

Sessegnon made more appearances in a successful year on loan at Bundesliga outfit Hoffenheim last season, playing 29 times for the German side.

He returned to Spurs this summer with his confidence restored, only to suffer a hamstring injury in the second week of pre-season training that kept him out for than a month.

He had a new manager then in Nuno Espirito Santo who believed in him, having tried on two separate occasions to bring him to Wolves in previous years.

READ ALSO:  Thomas Tuchel delivers injury update on Kai Havertz, Marcos Alonso, N'Golo Kante and Jorginho

Once Sessegnon returned in August, he played two Europa Conference League matches before succumbing to another hamstring problem while on duty with England’s U21s in early September and he has been out since.

football.london understands that Sessegnon will be taking part in outdoor training this week but Tottenham will take it slowly and cautiously with him so as not to push him too quickly and cause another problem to that troublesome hamstring.

If Sessegnon can move past this difficult stage early in his career and regain full and consistent fitness that he will find a new head coach at Tottenham who can not only improve him but has the formation to unlock the best of him.

Conte’s predecessor Jose Mourinho had high hopes for Sessegnon and said he believed he had similar traits to his former Chelsea left-back Ashley Cole.

Sessegnon has flitted between left-back and the left wing since bursting on to the scene as a 16-year-old wonderkid at Fulham.

READ ALSO:  'Conte's magic!' - Tottenham fans react to Norwich win and going above Arsenal in the league

Tottenham and Mourinho see his future at left-back and despite a line of interested clubs from elsewhere across the Premier League and Europe, they carefully chose the loan move to Hoffenheim to ensure he got game time every week in the position and at left wing-back, which he did.

Now Sessegnon is set to return to a team playing with a back three and wing-backs, which means a formation tailored to playing him at wing-back, utilising the best of his game.

As a 16-year-old in his breakthrough first season at Fulham, he contributed seven goals and five assists as he flitted between left-back and left wing roles.

His second season brought 16 goals and eight assists before a tough first campaign in the Premier League for relegated Fulham still brought two goals and six assists for Sessegnon, as he was in and out of the starting line-up under Claudio Ranieri.

His first year at Tottenham was blighted by injury before that move to Germany brought two goals and three assists as he adapted to the Bundesliga.



Ryan Sessegnon in action during the Europa Conference League play-off first leg between Pacos de Ferreira and Tottenham Hotspur
Ryan Sessegnon in action during the Europa Conference League play-off first leg between Pacos de Ferreira and Tottenham Hotspur

The wing-back role is made for Sessegnon, who knows how to operate in the final third as well as defend at the other end of the pitch.

It’s easy for his injuries and the frustration it causes fans to overshadow just how much of a talent the youngster is, with some of the continent’s top clubs competing for his services with Tottenham in the summer of 2019.

The key will be moving past those injuries. Although he has also struggled to get game time on the pitch in recent seasons for other reasons, Sessegnon could look to his Spurs team-mate Dele Alli for some inspiration. The midfielder went through a couple of years of repeated hamstring problems himself but appears to have moved past them now.

With Ben Davies seen more of a left-sided central defender in the Conte system, the role he also often plays in for Wales, Sessegnon will return as the natural competitor for Sergio Reguilon in the left wing-back slot.

Reguilon had an erratic game in the position during the 0-0 draw at Everton, replaced by right-back Matt Doherty late in the game, and admitted afterwards that it is something new for him.

“I’ve never played five at the back before. I have to learn quickly,” admitted the 24-year-old Spaniard.

“I have to see many videos with the staff to do on the pitch what they want. I’m enjoying the position a lot because I can attack more but I have to run double!

“He [Conte] wants me to be solid in defence but at the same moment I have to arrive in the box, help the strikers, score goals, give assists.

“Now I have more of a chance to score goals and give assists, so let’s work.”

For Sessegnon, he has plenty of experience at wing-back and he will be raring to show Conte exactly what he can bring to the team, with the Italian someone who improves players, including wing-backs.

“I’ve watched a lot of videos of Chelsea and Inter Milan. I had a friend at Inter, Achraf Hakimi, and I spoke to him about the gaffer,” Reguilon said.

“He told me I will improve a lot under him and I want to do that as soon as possible. He told me I will have to work really, really hard but I will improve a lot. In one week, I can already see that.”

The long-term plan at Tottenham was to have Reguilon and Sessegnon pushing each other on the left for years to come.

While there must be caution and patience over the latter’s return to the training pitches this week, there is plenty for Sessegnon to be optimistic about if he can get overcome this tough spell so early in his career.

Source by Football London

Leave a Reply