Excellent Kenny strike not enough for England U21s

Monday, 24 June, 2019 37comments  |  Jump to last
Jonjoe Kenny scored a superb goal for England Under-21s against Croatia this evening but Aidy Boothroyd's side was eventually held to a 3-3 draw.

The Everton defender struck to make it 3-2 just minutes after his former team-mate Nikola Vlasic had cancelled out James Maddison's goal but Josip Brekalo equalised again with eight minutes to go.

Reiss Nelson's first-half penalty had got the ball rolling for Boothroyd's men in the 11th minute but Brekalo scored to make it 1-1 at the break.

Kieran Dowell played 56 minutes of the game but Dominic Calvert-Lewin was overlooked.

England's tournament was already over following defeats in their first two group games but they weren't able to end their European Championships campaign with a consolation win.  

Reader Comments (37)

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Mike Gaynes
1 Posted 24/06/2019 at 20:05:27
Only Dowell and Kenny in the starting lineup – Calvert-Lewin on the bench.

And Vlasic is starting for Croatia. Interesting direct comparison with Dowell.

Mike Gaynes
2 Posted 24/06/2019 at 22:31:28
Eventful day for Jonjoe Kenny. He got roasted alive for Croatia's first goal, as Brekalo -- an obscure 2nd-stringer in Germany -- spun him around and left him for dead. The same player had beaten Kenny at the end line earlier.

But Jonjoe also had some outstanding passes and crosses prior to his spectacular 25-yard rocket into the side netting.

Dowell was subbed off at 55 minutes after some nice passing, including triggering the play that ended with the England pen. Calvert-Lewin did not play.

And our old boy Vlasic scored a superb second goal for Croatia, injuring himself badly in the process.

Peter Gorman
3 Posted 24/06/2019 at 22:53:37
No idea if Kenny being spun about for their first goal makes him 'garbage' but that screamer at least attests to his strength of character.
Jamie Sweet
4 Posted 24/06/2019 at 22:57:58
Typical. We farm him out, and he instantly turns into the English Roberto Carlos.
Ajay Gopal
5 Posted 25/06/2019 at 01:44:39
Kenny clearly needs to work on his defensive side of the game – hopefully, the loan out to Schalke will iron out those deficiencies under Wagner. If he progresses well, then surely the right-back position at Everton is his to lose.
Si Cooper
6 Posted 25/06/2019 at 02:23:40
Brekola is at Wolfsburg so he may get to take on Kenny a few times next season. Let's hope he doesn't become a recurring nightmare for him.

I thought Kenny's performance was very mixed and he often seemed to end up way out of position. On one occasion, it was certainly poor judgement from him as he rushed to make a challenge and didn't make it, leaving himself stranded for no good reason.

Other than that, it was hard to decide whether he was merely following the manager's instructions and his fellow defenders didn't help by not dealing very well when required to reorganise quickly.

Kieran Kinsella
7 Posted 25/06/2019 at 04:19:21
Has the Vlasic sale been finalized? Don't want to get stuck with him injured...
Kieran Kinsella
8 Posted 25/06/2019 at 04:21:38
Mike Gaynes @1,

What are you playing at with your fair and balanced critique of Jonjoe Kenny? Don't you know Everton players have to be brilliant or shit? This kind of “he did some things well and some poorly” is unprecedented.

Si Smith
9 Posted 25/06/2019 at 04:44:44
Jonjoe Kenny seem to be getting a little bit of stick lately on TW, I'm not sure how many of you play football (on any level, not even top level) but I'm just a regular guy who plays 5-a-side with the lads and, if I have a few weeks not playing, my touch is pretty shit!

Jonjoe hasn't played many competitive games this season, but do I need to remind many of you that this guy is a serial winner at his age group, hes won leagues and cups at both domestic and international level, including a World Cup!!!

Let's let the young man develop away from the club at a team were he may be a part of the first team set up for a full season before ripping him a new arsehole and condemning him to the garbage pile.

Please let's start looking at these 5 or 6 top young English players we have as potential players who may save the club millions of pounds, even if not as 1st team starters, but even as squad players.

Jonjoe Kenny; Not quite Seamus Coleman yet, but I'd take him with all his heart over 10 Martinez all day long.

Holgate; Fast, strong, not afraid to play out from the back and athletically gifted, I'd take him in my squad over an over the hill, over paid Williams.

Dowell; Not 100% sure he will live up to standards, but is he any worse than Mirallas? Will he do less than Deulofeu when he was at us? I'm not sure, this kid has an abundance of ability, let's see if we can help nurture it.

Connolly; Another lad who won lots at his age group, capable of playing many positions across the back line or holding midfield, never given ago, again may not have it but maybe a Alan Harper type who can fill in many ways from the bench.

Calvert-Lewin; Another young lad, another world cup winner, who again is improving, may never be a top top striker, but will he be any less than a Victor Anichebe who was a handful at times off the bench, and btw already showing much more promise.

Davies; A youngster who has a shed load of minutes, even at a young age with our first team, may develop physically over the coming year or two, has bags of ability and imo should be a long term Everton player, at first-team or squad level. A season out on the right loan deal could be huge for him.

Some these lads will hopefully be top players with the blues; if not, they will bring in much-needed revenue to justify the youth system set up. Others may fill a bench spot for a few years, all of whom are English, been at us for a while, and will probably show more loyalty than 99% of future signings.

Let's stick with these guys and back them to become better with the Blues.

Mike Gaynes
10 Posted 25/06/2019 at 05:15:36
Kieran #7, I'm sorry, I don't know what got into me. Must have been the rum.

Kieran #6, yes, the Vlasic transfer was announced on the 19th by CSKA and officially confirmed by Everton on the 20th. Their bad luck, not ours. And it looked really bad... appeared that he may have done his Achilles tendon wheeling away after the goal. Went down like a shot and didn't even try to get up. I thought at first it was a calf injury, but you don't get carried off for that. Hope I'm wrong... horrible injury for a kid age 21.

Hugh Jenkins
11 Posted 25/06/2019 at 08:28:06
Si Smith (9) - Well said!
Martin Berry
12 Posted 25/06/2019 at 08:29:58
Si Smith #9,

Well said, pal, give these young men time.

Eddie Dunn
13 Posted 25/06/2019 at 08:46:31
Si Smith, good comment!

Let's give Jonjoe Kenny a chance.

Jim Bennings
14 Posted 25/06/2019 at 08:53:36
I imagine Jonjoe Kenny will be thrilled with getting a loan to the Bundesliga, it's a very competitive league with some famous old names and amazing stadiums over there.

What I will say is we should know good and proper once this loan at Schalke is over whether or not he is up to it and he will either stake a claim for right-back or he'll move on permanently is my guess.

As for Dowell, a loan at Sheffield United or another lower-half Premier League club would be the perfect scenario for both him and us. He's already done the Championship and we are none the wiser, so a season in the top flight would give us a better idea of whether he can handle himself or not.

Dave Abrahams
15 Posted 25/06/2019 at 09:22:33
Si Smith (9), a nice timely reminder about the young players desperate to make a career in football. It's not easy and a spoonful of encouragement can mean a lot. Praise loudly, criticise with a whisper.
Dave Williams
16 Posted 25/06/2019 at 09:35:04
Mike Gaynes and Si, what great and sensible posts.

Who knows how good these young men may become if they are given a chance and are encouraged by us?

Dowell is a huge talent and could be a Sheedy type who needs sheltering on the flank, able to cut inside if he is not comfortable in the middle at senior level. If I had one wish for next season (apart from beating RS home and away, winning a trophy and seeing RS relegated. ok, I need five wishes) it would be for us fans to lighten up and encourage the youngsters as I am sure they would develop quicker for it.

Sam Hoare
17 Posted 25/06/2019 at 09:43:58
Si Smith @9, hmmmm... Instinctively I agree with you. There's nothing better than seeing a young lad (local blueblood prefereably) coming through the academy and injecting the first team with youthful exuberance and confidence mixed with raw ability. I still remember when Unsworth started Davies and Dowell against Norwich for the last game of the season (i think) and they tore them apart. It was glorious.

But, if we want to reach the upper echelons, then sentiment must not be allowed to rule over practicality. The reality is that the majority of academy players will not make it in the Premier League let alone as a starter for a team with top 6 ambitions. The Premier League is as competitive as ever and not many teams can afford to give plentiful minutes to players who may or may not reach the required standard.

By all means give them encouragement and never write anyone off, but at the same time Silva cannot afford to give players opportunity based on pure blueblooded optimism. They have to prove they are ready and able to contribute. The likes of Connolly and Dowell for example failed to establish themselves as regulars in the Championship last year, that may be due to a number of factors (some beyond their control) but it does not bode brilliantly.

How many of the players you mention would get more than a handful of starts if they were at any of the top 4 clubs? I'd venture none.

We absolutely have to nurture players with great potential to reach their best levels and build a team that way but we cannot afford to persevere with players who are not progressing enough and who are not up to the standard required. Being a youngster who starred for the U23 team, got some caps at youth level for England and has had one or two memorable moments in our or another first team does not necessarily mean you are going to make it as a starter in a top team.

It's a really difficult balance. And every player must be judged on where they are at now, where they could be in a few years, and how hard they are prepared to work to get there. The reality is that most will not make the grade and we must not waste time in hoping they will.

Kevin Prytherch
18 Posted 25/06/2019 at 10:17:06
Sam - very sensible and I think most would agree.

The comments that start the arguments are the ones that dismiss young players now without taking into account their potential improvement - think Calvert Lewin this time last year (2018).

Players like Kenny, Dowell, Connolly etc have shown their potential through the youth systems, both locally and internationally; they all deserve the chance to see if they do bloom into quality players rather than being dismissed now.

Ultimately, what do we lose if we keep them until they're 23 and they aren't going to make it? We have a saleable asset with a few years experience in the Championship, Premier League, or Germany.

Tommy Carter
19 Posted 25/06/2019 at 10:22:51
@16 Dave

‘Sheedy type’

Chris Gould
20 Posted 25/06/2019 at 10:46:25
Sam, very well said. It's a difficult balancing act. If you develop youngsters in the first team, then they will come in for criticism, which in turn has an effect on their confidence.

The top 6 don't develop players in the first team in the hope that they get up to the required standard. They play them when they are ready or rarely play them at all. I don't think any of Davies, Calvert-Lewin, Kenny, or Dowell have a bright future with us.

Si is right in suggesting that they aren't any worse than the likes of Williams, Martinez, Anichibe etc. But that is not the standard we are now shooting for. Are they an awful lot better? Will they improve much more? Galloway didn't, neither did Garbutt.

I would compare Calvert-Lewin to Solanke and Kenny to Ibe. Solanke and Ibe now play for Bournemouth and that's still a very good achievement. I expect some of our boys to follow this route and others to drop down a league. I don't see anything exceptional in any of them but they are all decent and should have good careers.

Calvert-Lewin has earned a place in the squad, and I like him, but he doesn't have a striker's instinct which will likely see him fall short with us.

Holgate is the one that I like the most. I think he has some class about him but am not sure he's a Silva type player. Possibly not big enough for the type of centre-back Silva favours. I don't want to see him wasting his talents at right-back or backup right-back.

Obviously, I wish them all the best and hope that we are able to make some decent money when we sell them.

Jay Wood

21 Posted 25/06/2019 at 14:17:52
I couldn't watch the game live as I doing something much more prosaic to do; sat in a dentist waiting room. But I did later watch the full game.

Kenny was done up like a kipper for their first equalising goal. You could see he wanted to keep Brekalo on the outside and on his weaker left foot, but Kenny moved across too far and half-turned too far, leaving him off balance and offering the winger space to power past him inside to smash it home. Poor defending, no question.

The collective and team selection from England was very bad. Again. I think the manager has had a bit of a 'mare in this competition. The commentary mentioned England had conceded just 15 goals in 22 games in the last two years leading up to this tournament, then conceded 9 in 3 in Italy.

Again, yesterday's selection was packed with technically gifted and forward looking midfielders. And whilst Dowell has looked good as a deep-sitting midfielder, he (and others) need a tenacious defensive midfielder alongside him to help shore things up when the team is out of possession.

I think the manager finally acknowledged that in the 2nd half. Without such a player to play the defensive midfielder role from the bench (where was Tom Davies???), on withdrawing Dowell, it was noticeable that England kind of went three at the back with Kenny mostly playing in an advanced role as the makeshift holding defensive midfielder.

If it wasn't a deliberate ploy and Kenny wasn't playing to instructions, then the manager and coaching staff said and did nothing to bollock Jonjoe (playing down the flank they were gathered) to get back into his full back role. That suggests the manager trusts him to 'do a job'. The biggest vote of confidence, of course, was that he continued with the Everton man over the much vaunted Wan-Bissaka for the second game running.

And Kenny fulfilled the role well. Crisp in the tackle and with his passing as always, he did as much as anyone in the England midfield to keep recycling the ball and keep pressing forward. All capped, of course, with possibly the goal of the game. His second-half showing is evidence of Kenny's mental strength and application.

Yes, he made a dog's dinner of Croatia's opening goal. But unlike Wan-Bissaka, who started poorly against France in the opening game and just got progressively worse, Jonjoe Kenny – as he has done in the past – does not dwell on his errors and finished the game strongly.

Overall, as I'm seeing at the Copa America in Brazil (European-based players in particular), the England players in the main looked a bit leggy, lethargic.

I've not tuned in to the African Cup of Nations. I suspect – as with the Copa America – especially for teams who were in Russia for the World Cup last summer, some players are running on fumes.

All these consecutive summer international tournaments could have consequences for players returning to their clubs for the upcoming domestic season. Something to keep an eye on.

Justin Doone
22 Posted 25/06/2019 at 14:20:30
Cracking goal by Kenny. Will he make it at the top level? I have my doubts... but he's a good player.

He has to improve; by the time he's 25, he needs to prove he can be a regular starter at a top 6 Premier League side, so the next 2 seasons are crucial for him.

Coleman will probably be gone / past his best and we need at least his current standard or better to improve the team.

He's very much in the Baines mould. Not the best defender, nor fastest, nor best tackler, nor tracker but his ability to take a touch and play the ball is very good.

I see comparisons to Garbutt (yep, still an Everton player as per recent article) with better control and distribution. Garbutt failed to step up (not given much of a chance to, some would argue) and that is what Kenny does need to do.

Others mention several other players at a similar stage and age in their careers. The basics are there; now time to improve and fine-tune their potential into consistent good play.

I hope they all make it but history tells us they will all be sold or released. We need to improve, we need to change the future so it's better than the past. Not easy, not quick... but I hope, in 3 years time, we have won a trophy, are competing in Europe, and challenging for top 4 — with or without them.

Phil (Kelsall) Roberts
23 Posted 25/06/2019 at 15:07:48
Just looked at the comparisons.

Seamus went to Blackpool in 2009-10 season. The following season he started 25 games, 6 of which Tony Hibbert also started. The following year he only started 14, only 1 of which was when Hibbert did not play.

2012-13 was the first season where Seamus took over on a regular basis from Tony Hibbert with 24 starts (Hibbert 4 so assume others Neville etc were the right back in the other 10 games).

It could therefore be argued that Seamus only started making the right-back slot his own from Swansea (A) on 22 September 2012. At that time, he was almost 24. Jonjoe Kenny is currently 22 years and 4 months.

Coleman made his debut as a left-back when we were thumped 5-0 by Benfica. The following season, he went on loan to Blackpool and it made him the player he is today.

Enjoy Schalke, Jonjoe. It will be the making or the breaking of you. And ignore those who say you will never make it. The same people said the same about Seamus Coleman when he was your age.

Tommy Carter
24 Posted 25/06/2019 at 17:29:19
Kenny and Coleman are two different people, with two different footballing journeys.

Seamus had absolutely no top level academy experience. The quality of coaching and guidance he will have received in Ireland will not have been to the same level of scrutiny as what Kenny has received in England.

Seamus was a regular in the 2010-11 season. He showed the standard of a Premier League player. Albeit as a midfield player. Moyes didn't trust him at right-back initially. That was Moyes's problem, not Seamus's. Moyes also didn't trust Baines as a left-back for a long time, and likewise Lescott as a centre-back.

I don't think there's a comparison there to be made... as much as one seems motivated to try and recreate the careers of former players

Tony Abrahams
25 Posted 25/06/2019 at 19:58:19
Maybe Coleman was the more fortunate footballer, Tommy, because he never had to deal with getting coached from such an early age?
Andrew Keatley
26 Posted 25/06/2019 at 20:57:39
Tommy (24) - Come on now. Nobody is claiming Seamus and Jonjoe are the same person, or that the way one player develops will mirror another. It’s a common idea to look at the careers of established players - and compare them with younger players - to give some sort of an indication of how that young player is developing, or might develop. It’s obvious that no two players are the same, and does not require mentioning.
Dave Abrahams
27 Posted 25/06/2019 at 20:59:01
Tony (25), I'd say Seamus was very fortunate to play football in Ireland up to his early twenties. I bet he really enjoyed it, playing football for fun and not having the fun taken out of him by professional coaches. Most of them don'tknow their arse from their elbows.

I've watched a lot of youth and reserve team (U23s) games and Iget the impression the young lads are not allowed to think for themselves, do things by instinct. You see them with five, ten yards of space in front of them, but stop and play the ball sideways and backwards, instead of driving forward and looking to pull the opposition out of position and make a forward pass.

They seem to be over-coached and all the fun and drive is forced out of them and their game is all the duller for the way they are “educated” in their football career.

Andy Crooks
28 Posted 25/06/2019 at 21:14:10

I know a bit about Sligo and I know a bit about Seamus Coleman. I can tell you that the coaching Seamus received at Sligo was second to none, to none. He is a product of the development and support he got there and we reaped the dividend.

I know it is an old and dull tune, but I followed the careers of Seamus and Shane Duffy and I can honestly say that Shane is the finest young centre-back I have ever seen.

He didn't take the final step that would have made him Stones plus. It became clear to me that the horrendous life-threatening injury he suffered took away that bit of confidence.

In my view, Mason Holgate is what Duffy might have been. This lad will be special.

Andy Crooks
29 Posted 25/06/2019 at 21:19:24
Dave @15, good post. By the way, I appreciate your defence of Jonjoe. Some of the stuff on here about him is fucking lamentable.
Tommy Carter
30 Posted 25/06/2019 at 21:30:42
@28 Andy

I did not criticise the level or standard of coaching at Slihonor in Ireland generally. I said it was subject to less scrutiny, which it is. And with vast sums invested in youth development in England, there is more accountability and more expectation.

I agree with Dave @27. I think Seamus benefited from this. In the same way in which James McClean did who broke through in England about a year or 18 months after Seamus.

But Andy @29. I don't think it is lamentable. It's a cycle in which us as fans and paying customers of tickets, merchandise and TV subscriptions are involved. And one in which Jonjoe is employed. Therefore, if you have an opinion on a matter, such as the ability of the player employed by the club you invest in, I think you are entitled to express the opinion. Especially when it is supported with evidence of how you formed that opinion.

Si Smith
31 Posted 25/06/2019 at 23:20:04
Again men, thanks for replys, but I mentioned some of the lads wont ever make it.

That said, Chris @20.

If the lads make a very good career at a team like Bournemouth, and go for fees like the lads from Liverpool, then we could potentially be in for a windfall of £35m+ from Kenny and Calvert-Lewin, that would be a huge achievement for the club, that type of money bought the red shite Salah with change.

Players like Callum Connolly and Dowel may fetch half that money which would pay for Gomes (give or take) all of which is an excellent progression for the club/youth squad.

We need the youth to top young players as Alexander-Arnold has become at the reds, and make us good money like Solanke and Ibe did for the shite.

That's what will make Everton bigger as we don't have the Man City funds or the income of a Man Utd.

We look at all these past kids and the fees they have commanded, but all please remember that none of them have won World Cups, look at the fees being branded about last season for Lookman, this season for Maddison and Hudson-Odoi. There is a premium for top English talent, we should be all over it.

Dave Abrahams
32 Posted 26/06/2019 at 20:52:47
Andy (#28), yes, people forget about the horrendous injury Shane Duffy suffered very early in his career. I think it was touch and go if he ever played football again.

He has done well to get where he is today, a regular in a Premier League team, and that injury definitely took some getting over and, as you say, took something from his game.

Darren Hind
33 Posted 26/06/2019 at 21:33:21
Why do people who are so determined to repeatedly and concertedly hammer an individual player, think they are fooling people into believing they are simply given opinion?

if you think a player is poor, say so. That's opinion. If you think a player is slow, or has a poor first touch, say so. That's giving reasons for your opinion.

I cannot and will not accept the whiney "I'm just giving my opinion" offered up from people who systematically hammer the same player over and over.

How the fuck can you find so much to say about a player you don't rate? What sought of game are you watching if all you can see is one player making mistakes?

Why on earth would somebody go through the trouble of listing all the goals we have conceded and pinning them all on one player simply because he was on the pitch?

It's not just Jonjoe Kenny, we had this same relentless battering of Calvert-Lewin early in the season... even when he wasn't playing.

"Opinion"? Is it fuck opinion. It's one-eyed nonsense. An inability to recognise your views have become polarised... that there is another 21 players on the pitch.

Jeff Armstrong
34 Posted 26/06/2019 at 21:45:19
Dave #32,

I seem to remember that it was touch and go whether Shane Duffy would survive that injury, never mind play again. It was a ruptured lung or something similar.

it is testimony to the bloke that he has gone on to have a decent career, is still an automatic international pick, and is plying his trade in arguably the best league in Europe.

By the way I regularly read your musings on the Under-23s and your support for Jonjoe Kenny, and some on here are writing this player off far too prematurely. I think the season at Schalke will be great for him and he will come back next year ready to emulate Seamus.

Shane Corcoran
35 Posted 26/06/2019 at 22:23:14
Andy, are you seriously saying that the coaching levels at Sligo Rovers are as good as he can be found anywhere else in Europe?

Seamus was only there from the age of 17 and his second manager there didn't rate him.

Jay Wood

36 Posted 26/06/2019 at 22:23:16
Shane Duffy is a very, VERY lucky boy to still be with us, as this story describes:


The human body has between 4.5-5.5 litres of blood. In his freak accident in a training game with the Irish squad – a coming together with the keeper – he severed his liver, lost 3 litres of blood and went into a coma.

The surgeons who treated him said the injury was similar to one they see from a car crash, not a sports injury. His father was told as he was under the scalpel that his son might not make it.

He returned to play football 10 weeks later, but had lost a helluva lot of weight and the physical strength on which his game is dependent and he naturally took time to regain his powers.

The article shows a photo of him lifting off his Everton shirt, revealing his permanent reminder of the injury – a huge L-shaped scar running down his rib cage, along his waist.

I particularly like one quote from the article by his centre back partner at Brighton, Lewis Dunk, which sums up Duffy well:

“Whenever the ball goes up I just step out of the way. And he comes through like a steam train.”

All praise to the lad. But – I'm looking at YOU, Andy Crooks!!! – he was NEVER going to be an Everton legend equal to Alan Ball!

Paul Birmingham
37 Posted 27/06/2019 at 05:11:57
Well done, Jonjoe Kenny. Hopefully this goal will inspire him and he'll go from strength to strength at Schalke 04.

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