For years we prayed to the footballing gods for a left-footer born anywhere between Marshall Meadows Bay and Western Rocks.
Well they’ve finally listened and given us Roehampton’s Ryan Sessegnon, who’s helped himself to 14 goals, six assists and five English Football League awards at the age of 17.
But will Gareth Southgate gamble and take the teenager to Russia?
History is against the south-west London Lionel as only four teenagers have been included in England’s last four World Cup squads.
A 17-year-old Theo Walcott was the shock inclusion in 2006 along with Aaron Lennon, 19, who made two substitute appearances at the tournament.
Luke Shaw and Raheem Sterling, who were 18 and 19 respectively, made the 2014 World Cup squad under Roy Hodgson but would probably rather forget the whole experience.
If, and it’s a big if, Southgate takes Sessegnon then he’s likely to be the only teenager in the squad.
But put age to the side, because if you’re good enough you’re old enough. How could England actually line up if Sessegnon makes the plane?
Fitting into England’s current setup
Sessegnon isn’t a left-back. He’s played there a handful of times for Fulham and never looked particularly comfortable.
That makes his inclusion in Southgate’s current side slightly tricky.
Sessegnon is unlikely to dislodge Dele Alli or Raheem Sterling in the two behind Harry Kane.
The most likely spot is a left-wing back role in which the protection of three centre-backs and a holding midfielder allows him the freedom the go forward.
Not quite all guns blazing but enough flexibility to show what he’s all about.
Let’s say Southgate has a late change of heart going into the tournament and scraps his 5-2-2-1 formation.
Once the mass panic dies down then we’re left with a rarely balance England side thanks to The Sess.
Kane would love the fact that both players on the left side are left-footed, meaning no having to cut back before putting the ball into the box.
So yeah, no complaints from us.
A familiar feel
To play at your best level you need to feel comfortable.
We can’t imagine it’s particularly comfortable starting your England career in the midst of a World Cup, even if you have been treating the Championship like Sunday League since the age of sixteen.
So what if Southgate was to mimic Fulham’s 4-3-3 formation? England have the players for it, which is no great shock given they are, give or take, the best players the country has to offer.
Sess can take up the same role he plays for Fulham although Eric Dier might struggle to do what Kevin McDonald, aka the Scottish Sergio Busquets, does week in week out.
What will likely happen
Call us pessimistic but we can’t see Southgate taking Sessegnon.
He’s never been afraid to pick on form over reputation but calling up an uncapped teenager from the Championship would be a huge leap of faith.
Even if he does go it would probably be with an eye on 2022. After all, Ronaldo went to the 1994 World Cup as a 17-year-old and didn’t play a minute.
We’d love to be proved wrong though.
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