U21 boss Boothroyd responds to Poch’s Sessegnon concerns

Will Ford

England Under-21 boss Aidy Boothroyd has promised Tottenham counterpart Mauricio Pochettino that Ryan Sessegnon is in good hands.

The 19-year-old has been given an instant recall to the Young Lions’ squad after missing the first three months of the season, having suffered a hamstring injury at Euro 2019 when England crashed out early.

Sessegnon, who joined Spurs from Fulham in August, has featured for less than 20 minutes so far for his new club – over two substitute appearances this month – and Pochettino admitted he would rather the teenager had not joined up with the national squad.

But, after calling Sessegnon up for games against Albania and Holland, Boothroyd reassured the Argentinian and insisted there was mutual understanding with managers over players.

“Yeah, it’s a trust situation,” he said. “The most important thing that Mauricio said was that he is a big player for us.

“Because he is a big player for us, we work together, make sure we get him fit, keep fit, and goes back to him better than when he arrives.

“He’s trained, looks very good, very strong, but we’ll make sure we look after him.

“Our job with all the players that come to us who might not 100 per cent fit is to make sure we look after them and by the time he goes back he is in a better position than when he joined us.”

England travel to Albania for Friday’s Euro 2021 qualifier top of Group Three.

They then play the Dutch in a friendly in Doetinchem next Tuesday in the final game of the year.

Boothroyd has rotated the captaincy, although Everton’s Tom Davies has been a regular choice, but he hinted Sessegnon could wear the armband in the future.

“He’s an exceptional talent,” Boothroyd said. “He’s played three years above his age group and has played in the European Championships already.

“As a player, there are plenty of things I could say about him, but the biggest and most important thing is he is such a great character.

“You know you can trust him and rely on him to do what he needs to do. Also, he pulls one or two others in and organises them.

“I think there are a lot of potential leadership qualities in him. He’s been unfortunate that his Spurs career has only just got going.”

Meanwhile, Bournemouth pair Lloyd Kelly and Sam Surridge, who is on loan at Swansea, have pulled out with thigh and knee problems respectively.