Another Everton academy success had his deserving birth in the first team this season. Kenny took up Coleman’s position at right back, through the Irish international’s long injury lay-off, with a degree of success.
During a season rife with low points and depressing games of football, it was refreshing to see our academy graduates prove once more that all hope hasn’t been lost at our club. Jonjoe Kenny has been waiting patiently in line for his opportunity in the first team, one that perhaps may have come sooner had it not have been for Seamus Coleman’s consistency until this point.
The young right back captained Everton’s u23’s to a Premier league 2 title in 2016/17 and was instantly recognised by the fans as a player with a lot of potential.
Overall Rating: 6/10
It’s always tough to assess the inaugural season of a youth player making head way in a first team. A lot of fans of our club go in far too hard on our youthful successes, usually after the first full season in the team. It’s a trend amongst our fans that has got to stop, the players coming into this team from our academy deserve to have the stage without over the top scrutiny and personal abuse on their social media accounts after a bad game.
Now I’ve got that off my chest, I’ll talk over some of the real positives we’ve seen from Kenny in his debut season. The first thing I will highlight is Jonjoe’s intelligence; Something that has arguably been his strength and advantage in the 21 appearances he has made this season. the 21-year-old reads the game very well, he is all too aware that he isn’t the quickest man on the pitch and his positioning acknowledges that fact. There were calls, after say 10 or so games, for Kenny to get forward more, but to the people that have little understanding of the game, that was something that wasn’t going to happen. If it did happen Kenny would simply be making up for Everton’s lack of quality on the wing, instead forcing the full backs into two very different roles. Kenny’s timing of his attacks is apt and not something that should be coached out of him.
The game that stands out instantly as Jonjoe Kenny’s best performance this season would be his showing against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the Carabao cup. The game was David Unsworth’s first in charge in his second stint as temporary manager, instantly breathing confidence into his former players from the u23’s squads gone before. Kenny tackled impeccably on the night and although the game didn’t result with Everton progressing, Jonjoe was easily Everton’s best player that night, also remembering a great performance the then newly promoted Beni Baningime made.
Areas To Improve
A reasonable season covering probably Everton’s most reliable player in Seamus Coleman is no easy task to accomplish. Kenny did it with varying degrees of success, however like every up and coming player there is always an area or two that could do with some touching up around the edges.
In the example of Kenny, the England u21 international could improve massively with some stamina training. During a small handful of games last season Kenny appeared to be at the full mercy of lactic acid build up in his legs and dragging a ball and chain around his ankle at the same time. Maybe it was a combination of a build up of games or potentially being over run as was often the case this season due to a lack of a recognised winger earlier in the season. It’s definitely not a criticism, but a perfect place to start for Kenny to build on his first team football this season.
More opportunities will be available to Kenny next season should he continue to apply himself and display the right attitude with Everton’s new manager. Too really enter the thoughts of any manager though the right back should consider the importance of distribution of the ball. Although Kenny’s short passing game was reasonable this season, his final cross in an attacking area and a creative pass to start a move could do with plenty of improvement to accompany his current qualities. As the statistics in the next section indicate, Jonjoe failed to complete a threatening cross on more occasions than he was successful indicating further the need to smooth off the rough edges to that side of his game.
Tackle success rate: 81%
Errors leading to a goal: 0
Avg passes per game: 29.43
Cross accuracy: 24%
Fouls conceded: 18
Duals won: 91
Duals lost: 79
Almost certainly a credible debut season for the coming of age full back, allowing room to improve next season also. The new Everton manager will have a decision to make when it comes to Kenny though, as with Coleman back and fully fit, first team opportunities will dramatically decrease. Ultimately at the age of 21, Kenny needs to find himself playing week in week out and a season on loan would certainly not be the worst thing for him.
Going forward with the above traits mentioned, Everton have a full back in Jonjoe Kenny who could quite easily become a mainstay for years to come if his final year or 2 of development is done correctly. I would endorse a loan to a Championship club or a newly promoted Premier league club if a loan option was to be explored, however, I’d be as equally happy with Kenny being Coleman’s successor making appearances in all of Everton’s 2018/19 cup fixtures.