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Ryan Sessegnon is leading candidate to win Championship Player of the Year

Photo: Getty Images

Championship

Ryan Sessegnon is leading candidate to win Championship Player of the Year

The teenager has been nominated as one of the best players in the division.

The end of season individual awards always provide talking points and there is a huge story brewing in the Championship.

17-year-old Ryan Sessegnon has been nominated to win the Player of the Season accolade, joining team-mate Tom Cairney and Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves on the shortlist.

The teenager has wowed supporters at Craven Cottage this season with his consistency and attacking quality.

Sessegnon has started all but one of Fulham’s matches so far and is currently the team’s leading scorer.

He has contributed 14 goals and five assists to date while proving his adaptability as he has featured in every position down the left wing.

It is rare enough for a teenager to play regularly in the top two divisions in England, but to perform to that high level is incredible.

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Last season, the award was won by Brighton attacker Anthony Knockaert who operates in a similar position to Sessegnon, albeit on the opposite side of the pitch.

He finished the season with 15 goals and eight assists with a goal involvement every 156.5 minutes. The Frenchman averaged 2.3 chances created and 2.52 attempted shots per ninety minutes.

A quick look at Sessegnon’s stats from this season shows that he hasn’t been as influential as Knockaert was last season, but his end product has been as devastating.

The teenager has averaged 1.13 chances created and 1.26 attempted shots per ninety minutes. Meanwhile, his goal involvement stands at one every 184.1 minutes.

This comparison would suggest that Sessegnon hasn’t reached the level that Knockaert managed to last season, but it is worth noting that 19 of the teenager’s starts have come at left back.

Although he has still been given license to attack when used at left-back, it has definitely had an effect on his stats.

 

Moreover, with six matches still to play, the England youth international has the opportunity to surpass the Frenchman’s figures for both goals and assists.

Knockaert’s fortunes haven’t been as great since winning the award, as the Brighton winger has only three goals and one assist in the Premier League.

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

This shows that there are no guarantees that the winner of this award will go on to thrive at the next level.

Other past winners include Andre Gray, Patrick Bamford, Danny Ings and Matej Vydra.

They have had varying levels of success in the Premier League, but none have become regular scorers in the top-flight. However, there is a different feeling with Sessegnon.

Not only does he deserve to be in contention for the award due to his form, but the narrative that it would provide makes him a good choice for it.

There is no doubt that Sessegnon is destined for bigger things. He could prove to be the most successful to emerge from the division in recent seasons.

The best comparison would be Dele Alli, who shone for MK Dons in League One before earning his move to Tottenham.

He won the Football League Young Player of the Year during the season before moving to North London, but even he didn’t win the individual award for the best player in the division he was playing in.

(Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images)

As discussed above, previous winners of the award have struggled to replicate their success in the Premier League, but that shouldn’t take away from their achievements in the Championship.

Sessegnon has delivered a similar level of consistency, while his age only goes to heighten his achievements.

If he can finish the season strongly and add to both his goals and assists, he will be the outstanding candidate to win the Player of the Season award in the Championship.

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Jake is a journalist based in the South East. He is a Newcastle United fan and has a keen interest in Dutch football. Jake can be found on Twitter here - @jakejackmann.

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