Jonjoe Kenny pinpoints 'massive influence' of former Celtic man on career - and some Everton legends too
In an exclusive interview with the Scotsman this week, the ex-Hibs manager said his old club’s capture of the 23-year-old on a six-month loan deal was a real “coup” and insisted ”absolute diamond” Kenny was the most enjoyable player he coached when the full-back played under him in the Goodison Park reserves between 2013 and 2014.
Kenny, who gushed about how much he “loved” his debut for Neil Lennon’s men that helped them to Tuesday’s 4-0 win at Kilmarnock, shares similar regard for his former coach.
“I know Stubbsy well. Stubbsy means a lot to me,” said Kenny. “He put faith in me at a young age to come up and play for the reserves at 16 and I loved playing under him. He got the best out of me and helped me on and off the field. He’s one of the best and he’s a top man. He played a massive part for me. I’ve had a few [big influences in my career]. David Unsworth was brilliant, Stubbsy was a massive influence when I was younger and Big Dunc [Duncan Ferguson] as well. He helped me along the way as well. He was a legend for me and a legend at Everton as well.”
Kenny also revealed how much his move north had meant to members of his family. A cousin posted a picture of himself in Celtic colours as a youngster when Kenny joined on Monday, and the Evertonian said such snaps also exist of him in the same garb. “My cousin has family from Glasgow who are big Celtic fans. When I was younger, I used to have the kits and the tracksuits and that. Everyone knows Celtic is a worldwide massive club,” he said. “His family would come down to Liverpool and I knew them well. When I signed, it was a big deal for people in the family, and especially for me to come to a big club like this.”
Scheduled to return to Goodison in the summer where he has found opportunities limited in the seasons either side of a loan season with Schalke for the 2019-20 campaign, Kenny did not entirely rule out extending his loan stay at Celtic, though he was circumspect over the possibility. His £50,000-a-week salary precludes the £10m-rated performer singing permanently. “It’s more just taking it as it comes, I know that’s a boring answer, but I can’t look too far ahead,” said Kenny, who is set to take his Celtic Park bow in Saturday’s hosting of Motherwell. “Just game by game and we’ll see where it takes us at the end of the season. Right now, it’s just focusing on the next game coming up.”
And even with the league gone, Kenny maintains he and his Celtic team-mates still have much to play for,even though the pandemic lockdown could put paid to the Scottish Cup being staged. “Everyone knows how the season has gone so far but we have three or four months left to put that behind us,” he said. “You can see for the past nine years just how successful this club has been, winning so many trophies. You can't forget that.”
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