Schalke: Jonjoe Kenny fits the identity of the club perfectly

Schalke defender Jonjoe Kenny (Photo by SASCHA SCHUERMANN/AFP via Getty Images)
Schalke defender Jonjoe Kenny (Photo by SASCHA SCHUERMANN/AFP via Getty Images) /

FC Schalke 04 right back Jonjoe Kenny’s future is uncertain, but what’s clear is that he’s become a part of the club’s ethos under David Wagner.

There is one thing, above all else, that is emphasized by FC Schalke 04, and that’s passion. As long as players are visibly working hard and doing whatever they can to make a positive impact, mistakes will be forgiven. Lose the ball while trying to make something happen? Surrender a foul in the process of closely marking an opponent? That’s fine, as long as you get the ball back and keep working hard.

Schalke right back Jonjoe Kenny is a young defender who is still growing and learning, but he showed in 2019-2020 that he has what it takes to be one of the best fullbacks in the Bundesliga.

Kenny played an integral role in Schalke’s title ambitions during the Hinrunde, providing energetic runs forward and real grit on the defense end. His love for derbies, specifically the Revierderby, only helped to further endear him to the Royal Blues’ fan base.

The future is up in the air with Kenny, because as an England international and a talented young fullback, Everton would do well to keep ahold of him. But Everton have also unearthed another great right back in Djibril Sidibe, who could be signed permanently from Monaco.

If Everton choose Sidibe over Kenny, that could be a boost for the Royal Blues. However, if the Toffees decide to recall the young right back on loan, Schalke will miss out on a 23-year-old right back who has integrated smoothly into the club.

Kenny loves playing for the Royal Blues, but his future with the team could come down to him begging Everton for another year on loan (likely) or a reduced fee to move permanently to Gelsenkirchen (unlikely).

But enough about the future. Let’s talk about the past. Last season, Kenny led all players on Die Knappen with 76 passes into the final third, beating out captain and defensive midfielder Omar Mascarell in this stat. Only Bastian Oczipka had more minutes played in the Bundesliga than Kenny, who completed a higher percentage of his passes than the more experienced left back.

The 23-year-old was Schalke’s best ball-progressor for much of the season, bringing a voracious appetite to attack to the right side of the formation, which was much-needed given Daniel Caligiuri’s declining pace and the overall lack of width in the team.

Defensively, Kenny is still learning and could be exposed at times, but his athleticism and energy were assets, as was his toughness. Kenny is willing to snap into every tackle and make every challenge, and while sometimes that can hurt him, his effort is both endearing and generally effective.

Next. 5 right backs who could replace Jonjoe Kenny. dark

Kenny is the kind of player every time loves to have in the lineup, because he works and works. And as his passes into the final third show, there are legitimate fruits to his labor. He’s becoming a key part of Schalke as an organization and someone who has embraced what it means to play for the club.