Cape Town - Tottenham defender Ryan Sessegnon says it gave him a big
confidence boost when manager Jose Mourinho compared him to former England
international Ashley Cole.
The 19-year-old's time at Spurs got off to a tricky start as
he arrived from Fulham on deadline day with a hamstring injury and he had only
made two substitute appearances before the man who signed him, Mauricio
Pochettino, was sacked.
That was a disappointment for the left-sided player, having
been attracted to Spurs by Pochettino, but he cannot have had too many
complaints at Mourinho's appointment after the Portuguese previously tried to
sign him three times when the manager of Manchester United.
In the first few days of his time at Spurs, Mourinho also
made the point of identifying similarities between Sessegnon and former England
"As soon as Spurs appointed him, it was exciting,"
"He's a big manager in the game, he's won things and as
a young player, you can only look to improve yourself under him.
"He's always talking to me, giving me pointers and tips
where I can improve.
"He's a manager who obviously wants to win things which
is one of the reasons why I'm here.
"It's flattering to be compared to someone like that,
someone who I think is a great player and for someone like the manager to put
my name in the same breath as Ashley Cole was big for me.
"It does give a lot of belief and confidence for
upcoming games and it makes me want to work even harder to get more.
"I definitely had an eye on Ashley Cole when I was
growing up. I was an attacking full-back, very aggressive but can also go
forward and supply goals, assists and he was definitely one of the players that
I looked up to."
Sessegnon is expected to make his full debut in the
Champions League clash at Bayern Munich as Mourinho makes changes for the dead
rubber with both teams qualified for the knockout stages.
It is not a bad place to start for the teenager, whose
hamstring injury picked up in the summer playing for England Under-21s put the
brakes on his Spurs career.
"You always want to get off on the right foot so coming
to the club injured wasn't easy for me," he said.
"As it was my first serious injury, it was hard to go
out and watch the boys train when all I wanted was to be involved.
"But it's part of the game, it's part of football, I'm
back now so I'm raring to go and enjoying finally playing now.
"It's been a long time since I started a game of
football, it's been about getting fit again really, trying to get my level
"That's what I've got to do now and hopefully get some
minutes under my belt."
- TeamTalk Media