Sunderland’s Steve Bruce says Stephane Sessegnone can be a club legend

Steve Bruce is a huge fan of Stephane Sessegnone. Picture by FRANK REID
Steve Bruce is a huge fan of Stephane Sessegnone. Picture by FRANK REID
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STEVE Bruce says Stephane Sessegnon has what it takes to become a Sunderland legend!

The Black Cats boss knew he was signing a top-class player when he persuaded the club to part with £5m back in January for the services of the Paris Saint-Germain attacker.

But he has been thrilled at the quality of the Benin International since his arrival on Wearside.

So much so, he has no qualms about talking up the player’s prospects.

He told the Echo: “I think he has the potential to go on and become one of the all-time greats at this club.

“I know that sounds like a heck of a burden to put on the shoulders of a young player who is just starting out here.

“But I wouldn’t say it if I thought it would faze him and I know he is the type of character who’ll take it all in his stride.

“He’s been fantastic since he got here and he’s getting better and better.

“He’s got great vision, pace, an eye for goal and an excellent temperament and some of the things he’s coming out with in training are unbelievable.

“I’m very excited about him and I’m hoping we are going to see the best of him next season.”

The 27-year-old scored three goals in his final five games for Sunderland last season after being switched to a more attacking role and has kept up that sort of form with three goals in pre-season games this summer.

It’s the sort of attacking fluency that has convinced his manager that Sessegnon’s best position is playing just behind the main striker.

Bruce said: “When Stephane first arrived here he came as a left winger who could adapt to a couple of other positions.

“But sometimes, you just hit lucky and with Stephane we were forced to throw him up front because of the lack of other options towards the end of the season.

“He was a revelation there and along with Jack Colback he was our best player towards the end of last season. It’s no flash in the pan either.

“He is excellent in that position, as he’s shown in pre-season. So we’ll look to use him regularly in a 4-4-1-1 formation.

“And despite the fact he lacks height, he is also excellent as the spearhead of a 4-5-1 formation.

“His energy up front and his ability to hold the ball up are great assets in a lone striker.

“And I will have no worries, especially away from home against top teams, in asking him to perform in that role if we think it’s the right way to go.”