Slavisa Jokanovic branded Ryan Sessegnon “special” after the teenage sensation helped Fulham to reach the Championship play-off final.
Four days short of his 18th birthday, Sessegnon scored one and made another for Denis Odoi as the Cottagers overcame a first-leg deficit to beat Derby 2-1 on aggregate and move one win away from a Premier League return.
Sessegnon has never been far from the limelight this season, scoring 16 goals, adding eight assists and sweeping the board at the end-of-season awards.
Tottenham and Manchester United are among the clubs keen on the talented youngster, who has even been touted as a possible option for England’s World Cup squad.
Jokanovic said: “This is not the first time I have spoken about him, most of the press conferences are about him.
“He has shown a great level of self-belief and confidence, he is a special man.
“When the ball arrives at him in the box it normally finishes in the net. He wants to be at the top level, he wants to push himself and I am sure he will get there soon.
“He is 17 years old and he is special. For him to be at the level at his age is fantastic. He is focused and wants to prove himself.”
Sessegnon will be 18 by the time he walks out at Wembley and admits it is a present he will remember forever.
“I think that tops it,” he said on Sky Sports. “It has to be the best birthday present for me.
“Hopefully we’ll get to the Premier League.”