Ryan Sessegnon will have to add a Wembley play-off final goal to his impressive collection to get an 18th birthday present from his teammates.
Teen sensation Sessegnon celebrates his big day on Friday and got the party started by inspiring Fulham into the Championship’s mega-money fixture with a goal and an assist in the second leg win over Derby on Wednesday.
But demanding defender Tim Ream said: “What are we getting him, the team? Nothing! Nothing at all. If he scores at Wembley, I’m sure we will get him something.”
If Sessegnon does net against Aston Villa at the national stadium, it will cap a dream season for the jewel in Fulham’s crown.
His 16 goals have helped fire the southwest Londoners to the brink of promotion to the Premier League and made him a transfer target for some of England’s and Europe’s biggest clubs.
But Sessegnon has taken all the attention in his stride and left his teammates in awe.
USA international Ream said: “I don’t see why playing at Wembley is going to be any different for him. I’ve never seen a kid so calm in the face of you media types. He doesn’t yearn for the limelight. He just goes about his business and does his own thing.
“He’s taken everything as it has come this year and done it like a 35-year-old veteran.
“He’s completely different to any of the young players who are up and coming. He’s the quietest kid I’ve ever met — so different to all these other 17-year-olds, in every aspect of his game. I liken him to a sponge. He takes everything on board. He listens.
“It’s just amazing what he’s done and what he continues to do.”
While Sessegnon has hogged the headlines, the 23-game unbeaten run that propelled Fulham into the play-offs and overturning Derby’s 1-0 first-leg lead was a team effort.
The final in 10 days’ time — the club’s first game at Wembley since the 1975 FA Cup final — certainly won’t faze them.
Ream said: “You don’t go 23 games unbeaten without being confident. We know that we are more than capable of beating every team in this division. You respect everyone and you fear nobody. We take that mindset to Wembley with us.”