After spending the majority of the past three seasons out on loan, the still just 23 years old Kenedy is dreaming of another chance with Chelsea. And this time maybe not shoehorned in as a left back, even!
“When I was at Chelsea before I played a lot as a left-back, but now I have been playing further forward. My past experiences as a left-back have helped me be a better player now.”
Kenedy burst onto the scene during preseason four years ago and followed that up with a 20-appearance campaign under José Mourinho and Guus Hiddink. Despite his attacking tendencies, he could not find success as a backup wing-back under Antonio Conte either in the title-winning season or the less successful follow-up. He did find success at Newcastle, after a loan to Watford fizzled out, but even his time up north wasn’t without major inconsistencies. He made just 8 Premier League appearances after Christmas for Rafael Benítez last season, none of them starts, for example.
There’s talent clearly there, but can he apply it consistently? That seems to be the biggest question. For his part, Kenedy’s dreaming that the answer is indeed yes, after playing the third-most minutes of any player up to now in preseason.
“I am very happy with the amount of minutes I played in Japan. It was a great experience. I am really pleased for the opportunity the manager is giving me and the amount I have been playing in pre-season.”
“Now I have to start again here at Chelsea and work hard, step by step. My hope now is to do a great season here at Chelsea. That is my dream.”
-Kenedy; source: Chelsea FC
Fourth time the charm for Kenedy? The injuries to Willian and Callum Hudson-Odoi, though not expected to keep either out for too long, could give Kenedy one last chance as he enters the final year of his Chelsea contract.