Jonjoe Kenny joining FC Schalke 04 on loan for the 2019/20 season caught a few Everton supporters by surprise, but the Toffees product has told Goal the two key reasons why a switch to the Bundesliga made sense to him.
The 5 ft 7 right-back had been attracting the interest of Crystal Palace and Burnley before opting to take on a new adventure in Germany, with Roy Hodgson and Sean Dyche both willing to offer the 22-year-old regular first-team football in the Premier League.
Marco Silva was reluctant to hand the Liverpool-born defender regular outings in Royal Blue during his first season in charge at Goodison Park, with Kenny resigned to nine top-flight games and three outings over the FA Cup and EFL Cup. The England U21 international will be hoping that is not the case at the VELTINS-Arena, where David Wagner is preparing for his first spell back in management after his sacking at Huddersfield.
The 47-year-old German’s time with the Terriers may have come to an end with his departure by mutual consent in January, but his success in guiding the John Smith’s Stadium natives into the Premier League and work in the top-flight did not go unnoticed by Kenny.
“Coach David Wagner was one reason for my transfer [to Schalke],” Kenny claimed. “I know him from the Premier League. and think he’s a great coach.
“You’ve seen what he has achieved with Huddersfield, and I’m convinced he can make me a better player. I am very happy and can hardly wait for it to finally start.”
As well as the man who will now be giving Kenny his instructions, Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho and Arsenal winger Reiss Nelson played a big part in his decision to join Schalke on loan.
“When you see what Jadon Sancho has been doing in the Bundesliga since joining Dortmund, you can only be astonished,” he added. “Even at his age, he has achieved great things and managed to become one of the biggest stars of English football.
“Also, Reiss enjoyed a very good experience. In Hoffenheim [while on loan], he has developed very well. I’m really looking forward to the new challenge.
“Reiss has raved about the Bundesliga. The stadiums and fans have especially impressed him. He felt really good at Hoffenheim and advised me to take the step to Germany. For young Englishmen, the Bundesliga can be a good step.”
Kenny has three-years remaining on his £15,000-a-week contract with Everton.