Ryan Sessegnon insists he will be able to pull his weight in the Premier League after putting on a stone.
The Fulham winger has bulked up in muscle over the summer to deal with the rigours of the top flight.
Sessegnon has had an understated start to life in the Premier League, although he has started six of Fulham’s opening eight games with the Cottagers winning just once.
He is currently preparing for England Under-21s’ final Euro 2019 qualifier in Scotland on Tuesday – can they do what the seniors did to Spain? – but feels he is fully equipped to handle the Premier League.
“I’ve got in the gym a few times this season to get bigger and stronger to face better and bigger players,” said the 18-year-old.
“There is a physicality where I had to become a bit bigger to face bigger players.
“I feel bigger, I feel faster and I feel stronger and I think you can see that in some of the games where my speed has got me out of a bit of trouble.
“I did it knowing I’d be playing in the Premier League. I knew it’s very physical in parts and in the position I play in I need to be strong.
“It was my idea to get in the gym. Fulham have pushed me as well to be in there two or three times a week, not just weights but flexibility as well to help my all-round body.
“We do yoga once every two weeks. A woman comes in and we have a little class and it helps as well.”
Sessegnon has been tipped as a future senior star for England, although has seen Jadon Sancho elevated to the Three Lions ahead of him.
He has been nominated for the BBC’s Young Sports Personality Year after scoring 15 times as Fulham were promoted via the Sky Bet Championship play-offs in May.
And the 18-year-old admits talk of a senior call up keeps him motivated having helped the under-21s book their Euro 2019 spot with a 7-0 win over Andorra on Thursday.
He said: “It keeps you focused, it makes you happy knowing they are thinking of you but it drives you to be better and improve your game so you can get into the senior squad.
“You saw in the World Cup they had a specific way of playing. It was controlled possession, a lot of attacking entries in the final third and you can see that with all the age groups.
“Gareth has a way of playing and you can see that in all the age groups. It’s exciting to be an English player at the moment.
“With the under-21s we’ve not got another major tournament with the national team and it’s another opportunity to win another tournament.”