SUNDERLAND are treating Stephane Sessegnon with kid gloves in a bid to ensure the Benin international does not burn himself out in his first full season in the Premier League.
The 27-year-old was recently given leave to take a few days off in order to recharge his batteries and spend some time with his family.
And Sunderland are also monitoring the situation with regards to next week’s African Cup of Nations qualifier, which will see Sessegnon linking up with the Benin squad ahead of their game against Ethiopia next Wednesday.
Sessegnon is due to begin the long haul after today’s game against West Bromwich Albion and O’Neill says Sunderland are concerned about next week’s internationals in general – and Sessegnon’s in particular.
He told SportMail: “We gave him a few days off last week because we recognise he’s had a heavy workload.
“He’s not missed a game for us so we wanted to give him that bit of extra time off.
“It allowed him to get away and maybe see his family in Paris and I think he appreciated the time he got off.
“And I think the few days he did have to himself showed in his play.
“I thought he was pretty sharp for a lot of the game against Arsenal and we’re just looking to look after him in that direction.”
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