Jonjoe Kenny lifts lid on Everton starting XI return and explains reason behind ‘difficult’ Celtic loan

Jonjoe Kenny was highly impressive in Everton’s 3-0 win over Leeds United.

Jonjoe Kenny insists he was determined to take his Everton chance against Leeds United.

The homegrown defender has endured a difficult 2021-22 season and been on the periphery for the majority.

What’s been said

However, he has started two of Frank Lampard’s three games since he was appointed manager.

Kenny featured from the outset in Saturday’s 3-0 victory over Leeds. He deputised for Vitaliy Mykolenko in a left-back role.

And the 24-year-old impressed by shackling Whites talisman Raphinha - who was hooked at half-time due to a subdued display.

Kenny revealed he stopped making excused and has been working hard in training to force his way back into Everton’s plans.

He told the club website: “I wasn’t playing but it was down to me [to regain place], I looked at myself and changed a lot of things, I didn’t make excuses anymore and forced my way back in.

Jonjoe Kenny with Everton manager Frank Lampard. Picture: LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP via Getty Images

“It [personal change] was my mindset of: I want to play for Everton.

“I want to be the best player I can. I am a local lad but I want to show everyone what I am about.

“It is not just lying down and letting the bad times take over.

“I had a lot of lows and that is part of football – but those moments mean nothing when you are this high.

“I expected to be where I am now because I trained and had the mental focus to get where I want.

“I love to defend, everyone knows that – and I showed moments going forward [against Leeds], which I know I have.

“It is just having that confidence in myself to go and express that.”

Celitc loan

Kenny spent the second half of last season on loan at Celtic.

However, he struggled to show his best at the Scottish giants, with fans disappointed by his impact.

Jonjoe Kenny during his loan spell at Celtic. Picture: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Kenny revealed that things didn’t go to plan mainly because of off-the-field problems.

He added: “I knew my chance was going to come, just not when it would come, and wanted to make sure I was ready.

“I made everything down to me, changed what I needed to and tried to get rid of excuses, which is difficult.

“I didn’t want to be giving the excuse that I wasn’t ready or didn’t take my opportunity.

“Celtic was a difficult period for me, off the pitch, especially. But having close family and friends and my agent and good mentors around me, and choosing that path and having these people who can really help me progress, changed a lot of things for me mentally.

“I have had a lot of ups and downs but it is about staying at it and doing what I need and focusing on me.”