Proud Three Lions fan Ryan Sessegnon wants his own slice of England success this summer.
The Fulham starlet is part of Keith Downing’s 18-man squad who begin their UEFA U19 European Championship against Bulgaria in Tbilisi on Monday afternoon.
The 17-year-old, who impressively chalked up 30 senior appearances for his club last season, has been eagerly awaiting the start of these finals in Georgia.
- UEFA European U19 Championship Finals
- Group B
- 2.30pm BST, Monday 3 July 2017
- Tblisi, Georgia
Until now, he’s been cheering on the other Young Lions’ sides including flying out to Croatia alongside twin brother Steven to cheer on his pals during England U17s’ heartbreaking penalty shoot-out defeat to Spain in May’s U17 Euro final.
And the past few months have only added to Sessegnon’s appetite for success.
“Seeing the U20s win the World Cup gives us additional motivation because it shows that England teams can win tournaments,” said the south Londoner, at the squad’s base in Tbilisi Sea New City.
“We’ve struggled as a country in the past but the U20s winning gives us that belief. Those players aren’t much older than us so for those to be world champions at U20 level can inspire us to be champions of Europe.
“It would mean everything to me to win a tournament like this. Winning tournaments at any level of football is good but to do it for your country is even better."
Turning to his trip out to the Croatian city of Varazdin to support Steve Cooper’s U17s in May, he added: “We wanted to give them a bit of encouragement because that is my age group and I’ve got a lot of friends in that team so we wanted to fly out to Croatia and give them the support they needed.
“They played against a good Spain team but I think we did well. It wasn’t the easiest of games but I think that other than the last-minute goal they scored, we were largely comfortable.”
As for the U19s’ own challenge out here in Georgia, which also includes the Netherlands and Germany in Group B, Sessegnon insists he’s itching to get the tournament started.
“Since we’ve arrived we’ve all settled well and everyone is just buzzing to get the first game underway," he revealed. "The hotel, training pitches and all-round facilities have been good.
“We know how Bulgaria play in terms of their style and we’ve been working on how we’re going to match that, how we’re going to try to break them down. We played them recently and managed to beat them 2-1 so we hope we’re able to do that again.
“Pulling on the England shirt has always been a boyhood dream for me because you’re not just representing your country, you’re representing your family too."