Ryan Sessegnon reveals Ivan Perisic’s crucial advice before Tottenham goal against Southampton

·3 min read
Ryan Sessegnon celebrates after scoring for Spurs (EPA)
Ryan Sessegnon celebrates after scoring for Spurs (EPA)

Ryan Sessegnon has credited new teammate Ivan Perisic’s pre-match advice after scoring Tottenham’s opening goal of the season in a 4-1 win over Southampton this weekend.

Perisic joined Spurs this summer in a free transfer after leaving Inter Milan to reunite with former manager Antonio Conte. The Croatian international is still working back to full fitness after injury and began his Premier League career on the bench before making a late cameo.

Sessegnon has struggled to secure regular minutes at Spurs since joining from Fulham in 2019, but after impressing Conte last season and with the rumoured departure of teammate Sergio Reguilon, the Englishman is set to share game-time with the 34-year-old Perisic over the coming season, and started in the left wing-back position on Saturday.

James Ward-Prowse scored the opening goal of the game to give Southampton a surprise lead but Sessegnon’s back-post header gave Spurs a crucial equaliser, and later Sessegnon revealed Perisic had told him to target that area against Saints right-back Kyle Walker-Peters.

“He is a great, great player,” Sessegnon said of Perisic, who has won major trophies at Borussia Dortmund, Wolfsburg, Bayern Munich and Inter, as well as scoring in the World Cup final for Croatia. “He won a lot of titles but he is also a great person. He has helped me a lot straight away already. It can only be good for us to both be challenging for that left-wing spot.

“Even for the goal today, he literally told me get in the back post and you will score. That helped me today. He said Kyle Walker-Peters is quite small at the back post so if a ball goes in make sure you are there to head it in. Literally just before the warm-up he came to me and I took it on board and I don’t think you guys saw but two minutes before that a ball went in and I missed the opportunity to get in there, so I was very angry at that situation. When the ball came in again I had to be there.”

Ivan Perisic replaces Ryan Sessegnon late in the game (Getty Images)
Ivan Perisic replaces Ryan Sessegnon late in the game (Getty Images)

Sessegnon is hopeful that his Tottenham career can finally take off after a stop-start beginning with the club.

“Three years ago is when I signed and that’s the first time I’ve had a proper pre-season under my belt with no problems, so that probably made the difference for me today and I just want to continue,” he said.

“Obviously it’s going to take time for the new guys to come and gel. But from training as well the message has been very clear from the manager that anyone can play in this team,” he said. “The new players have gelled quite well but he has stuck with the players that played last season and we got the win today. When you play for a club like Tottenham there is always going to be players trying to take your position anyway and that is the quality that we have in our squad. Every game you have to treat like it’s your last and that’s what I’m trying to do.”