Fulham vice-captain Kevin McDonald has lavished praise on Ryan Sessegnon after the teenager netted twice during his side's 3-1 Championship win over Barnsley on Saturday (27 January) and has been impressed by his young teammate's ability to focus on his boyhood's club promotion charge amid speculation linking him with Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United.
Sessegnon, who has played most of the season at left-back but has flourished in a left-wing role in recent weeks, scored his 10th and 11th goals of the season at Oakwell as Slavisa Jokanovic's side came from a goal behind to beat 10-man Barnsley and in turn elevate themselves into the play-off spots.
Sessegnon, who plundered a brace during Fulham's 6-0 win over Burton Albion the previous weekend, is hoping to lead his boyhood club back to the Premier League despite interest from Tottenham and United, who were reportedly open to concluding a £25m deal for the England youth international before loaning him back to Craven Cottage.
No such deal has been agreed, though, and McDonald, who skippered Fulham against Barnsley in the absence of Tom Cairney, who is attracting interest from West Ham United, has commended Sessegnon for not letting the speculation affect his performances on the pitch, which he believes are improving with every passing week.
"At the end of the day, when the ball falls to him he has to have that composure and he does, he has it in abundance and every time he goes into the box you think he'll have a good chance of scoring and fair play, each week he's going to another level," McDonald said, per GetWestLondon.
"I've said it before and got asked what his best attribute is, and it's his timing, it's incredible, he knows where the ball is going to be before the ball even gets there.
"His timing of runs, timing of everything is really good and that obviously helps him a lot, plus he is physically in peak condition now for the season and he can just run for days.
"Fair play to the boy, he's kept himself grounded and he's not letting the transfer talk get to him and keeps on scoring goals, so hopefully he stays with us and keeps scoring them."
Tottenham were hoping to thrash out a £30m deal for Sessegnon and his brother Stephen this month, while United were also pondering a move for the vaunted teenager, but Fulham managed to fend off any lingering interest in the coveted youth graduate earlier this month.
The Whites will find it extremely difficult to keep Sessegnon beyond this summer if they fail to achieve promotion, and they are also facing a fight to keep captain Cairney from the clutches of West Ham United.
Cairney, who signed a new contract during the summer, is reportedly keen on moving from west to east London, but Fulham have made it abundantly clear that they are not considering selling any of their key players mid-season.
The Whites will not even consider an offer of £40m for the former Blackburn Rovers midfielder, according to Sky Sports, and it remains to be seen if West Ham return with a second bid for the Scotland international after seeing their £15m proposal swiftly rebuffed. West Bromwich Albion were also credited with an interest in Cairney but are no longer pursuing him as they look to do a deal for Troy Deeney.