Jonjoe Kenny and fellow Young Lions target Euro defence

Tuesday 06 Oct 2015
England Under-19s right back Jonjoe Kenny
Get the Kit Home Kit Display Ad 300x250

His last kick of the ball in UEFA competition sealed Euro glory for England, now Jonjoe Kenny is intent on adding another winners medal to his collection.

The Everton right-back scored the winning penalty last May as he helped the Young Lions defeat Holland in the European Under-17s Championship final.

And having progressed up to U18s level for his country last season, but without any competitive action, Kenny says the squad are looking at this year’s Euros as an opportunity to defend their crown.

U19s Euro qualifiers

England v Macedonia
2pm, Thursday 8 October
FFM Training Centre, Skopje

Finland v England
2pm, Saturday 10 October
Boris Trajkovski Stadium, Skopje

England v Italy
2pm, Tuesday 13 October
Boris Trajkovski Stadium, Skopje

"Every time I come back with England and see the lads, and see the trophy at St. George's Park, I always remember it," he told TheFA.com.

"I'll never forget how good that was. Those three weeks that we were away at the Euros was probably the best time of my life really, and it's something I really enjoyed."

Kenny and his team-mates travel to Macedonia on Tuesday as they continue preparations ahead of their first round qualifiers against the host nation, Finland and Italy.

"We've spoke about seeing it as our defence of the trophy this season," said Kenny. "We are a very confident group and we believe that we can win this one.

"We have top players in both attack and defence, we are really positive, so why can't we go on and win it again?

"I think we can go and win every single game with the squad we have got, and even with the experience we have despite still being young, that can only help us."

The squad travelling to Macedonia includes ten of the men who triumphed last summer.

And the majority of the group have been involved for the Young Lions since U16s level, so the bond they have developed at international level is their key strength according to Kenny.

"There's a lot of good players in this age group and you can see that by some of the lads that have not been included in the squad," he explained. 

"A lot of the lads are playing in the Premier League or in the Football League, and we have a few playing abroad, so it's great to be involved with this group. 

"The morale has always been strong when we've been together for England over the years, and I think that closeness is our biggest strength. We all know each other rally well and each other's game."

Kenny has been one of those individuals to have made his senior debut in recent times having just returned to Goodison Park following a loan spell at League One Wigan Athletic.

Jonjoe Kenny in action against Holland earlier this season

Jonjoe Kenny scored the winning penalty for England in the Euro final in 2014

The opportunity to gain first-team experience has been hugely beneficial according to the 18-year-old.

"I loved every minute of playing for Wigan. I played seven games there and felt I got better with every one," he added.

"I learned so much playing against men and playing for points every week. When there's something on the line and playing in front of crowds, knowing you have to win, it's just been a great experience for me.

"I'm back at Everton now and I just need to keep working hard and see where that takes me."

It has not been all plain sailing for Kenny this season however. He was sent off moments after half time last month when England defeated Germany 3-2 away.

Despite his disappointment at seeing red, he believes the squad showed everyone their pedigree as they went on to claim victory despite their numerical disadvantage.

And it’s that hunger to succeed that Kenny says drives the squad on.

"It was disappointing to get sent off obviously but I think that night was a great example of how good this team is that they still went on and won," he said.

"For us to go down to ten men away to Germany with 45 minutes still left, it showed the character of the group. It's not all about me, it's about winning, and the lads showed how much we want to win trophies at this age group."

By Gary Stonehouse Staff Writer at St. George's Park