These days, any budding young talent making their way at Fulham will have to endure inevitable comparisons with a man who tore the Championship apart at an age where most teenagers are fretting over A-levels and UCAS points.
They have a certain Ryan Sessegnon to thank for that.
But, for 18-year-old Cody Drameh, the rapid rise of Tottenham’s £30 million star is an inspiration above all else.
“I’ve seen what Ryan can do so I’m always thinking ‘how has he done that?’. Ryan’s broken into Fulham’s first team so I look up to him a lot,” says Drameh, speaking exclusively to HITC, as facilitated by Colossal Sports Management.
While a 17-year-old Sessegnon shot to fame with 16 goals and eight assists during a remarkable breakthrough campaign in 2017/18, Drameh is more renowned for his abilities at the other end of the pitch.
It’s telling that, in an age where full-backs are more adventurous and attack-minded than ever before, Fulham’s latest teen sensation idolises a man who embraces the old-school ways.
“For his defensive qualities, Aaron Wan-Bissaka (is someone I look up to). The way he holds his own, he’s also calm with the ball and not many players can get past him,” he says.
That is not to say, however, that Drameh is unaware of the responsibilities placed on a modern-day full-back.
“My strengths are defending, interceptions and, in general, reading the game well. I think I can improve on my attacking output, crossing and making assists in the future,” he says, naming Borussia Dortmund’s turbo-charged wing wizard Achraf Hakimi as an inspiration.
Having set up five goals for Fulham’s reserves this season, Drameh is certainly working on his weaknesses. And it seems only a matter of time before he is barrelling down the same path that saw not just Sessegnon but also Moussa Dembele and Harvey Elliott become first-team stars long before their 20th birthday.
“Hopefully the manager sees something in me to give me the chance of first-team football,” says an NBA fanatic whose imposing athleticism owes much to hours spent on the basketball court as well as the football pitch.
“I’ve had a few interactions with (Scott Parker), he just talks to me about what I can improve on.”
Like all young players, Drameh dreams of lifting ‘Old Big ears’ high into the night sky one day, enchanted by the prospect of those infamous European nights at Anfield or Dortmund. But, for now, the focus remains on the Championship rather than the Champions League.
Namely, winning the thing.
'It's all about consistency'
“We’ve got a very good chance. It’s all about consistency for us,” says a Dulwich-born defender who names fellow Fulham youngsters Jay Stansfield (below) and Fabio Carvalho as ones to watch in the future.
“We can go on a five-game run but then we’ll lose the odd match. There are teams around us that are also slipping up so we can definitely push for the automatic places or even win the Championship.”
There is another iconic white shirt that Drameh holds close to his heart. The lung-busting Londoner was handed his England youth debut in March of last year, the culmination of years of blood, sweat and relentless hours on the training pitch.
“I’d been waiting for this moment for about five or six years so, when I got that call-up, it was amazing. I was so proud of myself and my family was proud of me (too),” he gushes.
With Trent Alexander-Arnold, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker, Max Aarons and Wan-Bissaka too all enjoying superb campaigns in the Premier League and beyond, this is something of a golden era for English right-backs.
Sooner rather than later, it might be time to add Drameh’s name to that list.
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