Ryan Sessegnon needs to get nasty, says Fulham boss Claudio Ranieri
By Richard Cooke
Last Updated: 11/01/19 1:15pm
Claudio Ranieri has told Ryan Sessegnon to develop a mean streak to boost Fulham's Premier League survival fight.
England U21 star Sessegnon has made 22 appearances for Fulham so far this season following their return to the top flight.
Fulham boss Ranieri is a big fan of the 18-year-old's talents, but has called on the Roehampton-born winger to adopt a ruthless edge on the field.
"He has to improve a little bit - just a little bit - I want him more aggressive in his head," said Ranieri.
"Sometimes in the duel he is a little shy. I do not want to say a nasty word in Italian but I want him to be more nasty sometimes.
"In the battle you have to be, 'bang, come on!'.
"I want him to make something more. His quality, the way he trains is fantastic, but he needs to be a little nasty."
Sessegnon's prodigious talent already places him among the most-coveted young English talents.
With two Premier League goals to his name he has acclimatised well to life in the top flight.
But Fulham boast just three wins in 21 games, and now face a pivotal relegation scrap at fellow strugglers Burnley on Saturday.
Ranieri wants Sessegnon to step up and play with the kind of authority to match his talent, but belie his years, as the Cottagers look to climb out of trouble.
Former Leicester boss Ranieri made more than 300 appearances in a 13-year club career in Italian football, between 1973 and 1986, and is confident he can coax a harder edge out of Sessegnon.
Fulham vs Tottenham
January 20, 2019, 3:30pm
"I will give it to him; I was so nasty when I played a long time ago, believe me," said Ranieri.
"I can give him my experience. On the pitch you have to respect everybody but also on the pitch you have to achieve this respect."
Fulham are already talking to Sessegnon about extending his current contract that has less than 18 months to run, with Ranieri positive about discussions so far.
"I know they are speaking and I think sooner or later his agent will find a solution," said Ranieri.
"I want him and I believe in him. I hope soon it can be finished, but that is not my job, it's for the club."