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What Ivan Perisic told Ryan Sessegnon about Kyle Walker-Peters ahead of Tottenham vs Southampton

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Ryan Sessegnon played a starring role as Tottenham kicked off their 2022/23 Premier League campaign with a 4-1 triumph over Southampton.

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Given the nod at left wing-back with new signing Ivan Perisic still not fully fit, the 22-year-old scored Tottenham’s first of the afternoon with a brilliant header from Dejan Kulusevski’s inswinging cross.

Having a goal ruled out at the start of the second half and denied another following a brilliant Kyle Walker-Peters tackle, Sessegnon fully deserved his standing ovation when he made way for Perisic on 66 minutes.

The two players may be fighting it out for the left wing-back role but that hasn’t stopped the experienced Croat passing on some valuable advice to his competitor.

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“He is a great, great player. He won a lot of titles but he is also a great person,” explained the ex-Fulham player. “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.

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“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.”

Speaking to the media after the 4-1 win, Sessegnon joked that Antonio Conte would’ve killed him if he didn’t convert Kulusevski’s cross moments after failing to attack Rodrigo Bentancur’s brilliant ball into the box.

“That’s one of the reasons why I got in there as well,” he admitted. “That’s how he wants the wing-backs to go and score goals. So when Deki has the ball to cut inside he has the quality to whip it in, so you’ve just got to be there.”

Scoring in the Premier League for Fulham previously, Sessegnon’s strike on the opening day was his first in the top flight for Tottenham. So impressive against Southampton, the left-sided player feels that a full pre-season under his belt has only helped his game.

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“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 admitted.

Making six signings this summer to give the boss more strength in depth, none of the new additions started on the opening day as five were named on the bench and Richarlison missed out through suspension.

Giving Conte food for thought ahead of Sunday’s game against Chelsea with Perisic building his fitness up after getting another 25 minutes in the tank, Sessegnon has put himself in a very good position to play at Stamford Bridge.

“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.”

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