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Ryan Sessegnon explains the influence cage football had on his professional career

The versatile Fulham youngster learnt his trade in the cages of Roehampton

What are your earliest memories of playing football with your mates?

For some of us, those memories will involve kicking a ball around a concrete jungle until it went dark or someone’s window got smashed.

That’s certainly the case for Ryan Sessegnon, who revealed the influence cage football has had on his burgeoning professional career.

The pride of SW6

Getty - Contributor
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The pride of SW6

The 18-year-old versatile Fulham winger grew up in Roehampton, London, where he first started to kick a ball around.

Sessegnon, speaking to Ian Wright as part of Dream Team’s Wrighty Meets series, explained: “We’d play older kids from the block and the area.

“I was about 11 or 12 when I started, playing against bigger players. There was a football cage next to my house where we used to meet up and play all night.

“All night until we couldn’t really see. There was a street light outside but it was broken.

This is no time for hide and seek

Reuters
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This is no time for hide and seek

“We used to play 10v10s or 11v11s. We used to play World Cup where you’re by yourself and you have to score a certain number of goals to go through.

“I used to go to the cage with my brother Steven. Both of us would play one-touch and two-touch and ping the ball at each other.

“In my head I used to always think football is what I want to do as a career. But I never thought that four years later I would be playing a Championship game, making my debut for Fulham.”

Sess Brothers

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Sess Brothers

Those hours of cage football certainly did the job, with both Ryan and Steven going on to sign professional terms before representing Fulham’s first-team.

It’s no surprise that England’s latest crop of youngsters, whether it be Jadon Sancho and Reiss Nelson out in Germany or Phil Foden and Sessegnon in England, all thrive in small spaces.

Cage football has been credited with playing a major role in the careers of Wilfried Zaha, arguably the Premier League’s best dribbler, and Chelsea’s Victor Moses.

So next time you’re in the cage playing Wembley Doubles, just remember that you’re in good company.

WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW BETWEEN WRIGHTY AND SESSEGNON BELOW:

Wrighty Meets Ryan Sessegnon