O’Neill praise for Sunderland striker Sessegnon

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MARTIN O’Neill has labelled Stephane Sessegnon as an “essential” ingredient in Sunderland’s resurgence.

The Benin international, expected to feature against Arsenal today after limping off against Middlesbrough in midweek, has been Sunderland’s most creative threat throughout the campaign.

But top scorer Sessegnon has thrived since O’Neill took charge in December, with the 27-year-old grabbing four in his last eight games – including the extra-time winner at the Riverside to send Sunderland through to the last 16 of the FA Cup.

O’Neill said: “I think he’s been essential to us.

“He gives us that little spark. He is unpredictable, he’s always capable of doing something – taking on players, opening up gaps and creating.

“He is a crowd pleaser and he’s got an end-product as well.

“And of course, he has contributed a few goals too, which has been fantastic.

“I think his goal against QPR before Christmas gave him a big lift. He ran from the halfway line, sold the goalkeeper a little dummy and then put the ball in the net.

“Players like him, for all their creativity, also thrive when they are scoring goals.”

SEE Saturday’s Mail for full story