In an era were the transfer window generates more attention than the season itself, it’s quite obvious that homegrown talent and the academy setup gets looked upon. There’s no better example than local lad Jonjoe Kenny.
Jonjoe Kenny, born over the road in Kirkdake has had a brilliant season for the U23’s consistently showing how he is more than capable to compete at the top level. Looking a step above the other lads in the U20’s World Cup even if he didn’t grab the headlines like DCL & Liverpool’s Dominic Salanke.
Through watching him on regular occasions it’s clear he’s got the pace to get up and down the line while delivering a cross with real quality, while not forgetting his defensive duties, something that Cuco Martina hasn’t quite shown in his early days at Everton, yet Ronald Koeman has hesitated putting him in that right back position opting for a very defensive and assured player in Mason Holgate.
It’s obvious that Holgate will mature into a centre back so why stop the progress of a young lad desperate to prove a point. Playing Holgate in that position affects the whole fluidity of the team as neither Baines or Holgate have the pace to really hurt teams going forward which really restricts our options, especially when most of our success over the years has been using the width of our full backs going forward.
There’s been heavy criticism of Ashley Williams of late so why not give Holgate an opportunity and centre back as we’ve seen the rewards of playing DCL in his actual position. Putting Holgate there allows Baines to get forward more without worrying about the counter attack as Holgate has the pace to get back and cover as Michael Keane isn’t blessed with pace either.
Cuco Martina was brought in from Southampton for what looks like squad depth but has looked nothing short than awful since his arrival, still living off that wonder goal against Arsenal. He had one of the worst performances I’ve seen against Tottenham not being able to get any of the basics right. There’s one thing us fans expect at the very least and that’s passion and at least the will to fight. Seeing him back out of so many 50/50 challenges just irritated the crowd and made us get on top of the whole team. Ashley Williams & Michael Keane didn’t have the best of games but playing next to a full back who is so inconsistent and hesitant on & off the ball makes them feel the need to cover.
This weekend Leighton Baines from Kirkby, made his 300th Premier League start for us showing how investing in young, local talent can benefit the club as he’s proved to be one of the most consistent players in the team over the past decade. Surely this is a milestone that supports the argument of Kenny being given that chance.
I expect Jonjoe to be thinking what more can he do to deserve a chance in the first team, but it depends solely on the manager and the trust he has in the young lad as he’s had arguably the best year of his career. It doesn’t come much better than Winning the World Cup & Premier League and his individual performances have been brilliant.
I expect him to have the patience and right attitude to stick around till he gets his opportunity or even go on loan once more and prove why he’s ready. He’s only seen twelve minutes of Premier League football since being involved in the first team which just isn’t enough for the lad, but we must also recognise he is only 20 years old.
I’m a big fan of Koeman but the fact our preferred right back is out long term, the lack of proven alternatives for this position and having more games than usual due to the Europa League leaves no excuses for why he hasn’t been given an opportunity. In the press conference for the game against Spurs he’s came out an said Oumar Niasse will be given an opportunity in the first team again, lets hope Jonjoe gets a shot too.
– Tom (@TomBruce78)