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Opinion

The Kenedy problem

2 years ago
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Kenedy is surely the most interesting Newcastle United player at the club.

He is also the most frustrating, infuriating…

In a team that plays so defensively with little pace or ability to run past an opponent, Kenedy is the only exception.

However, he is a flawed talent, one you cannot rely on.

A poor start to the season really peaked at Cardiff, failing to pass successfully to another Newcastle player for the entire first-half, then a feeble effort to put away the last minute penalty that would have won the game.

Saturday was nowhere near as bad as that but the fact Newcastle won the game, meant any criticism would be more temporary.

It is quite amazing to think that we were told Kenedy was a defender who could also play further forward when he arrived 11 months ago.

He clearly hates defending, in terms of that being his main job.

I suppose the reality is that occasionally playing left-back for Chelsea is a completely different proposition. Most of his limited appearances tended to be against weaker opposition, especially in the cups, which when you play for one of the top teams really means you spend more time going forward anyway.

Rafa Benitez (see below) launched a spirited and detailed defence/explanation after Kenedy’s display against Huddersfield.

However, we all saw what we saw. The Brazilian would be no good at Poker, his feelings/emotions are there for us all to see.

When Kenedy is on form and creating chances & scoring goals we can all see how happy he is, asked to do a job that he most definitely doesn’t want to do, he doesn’t even attempt to hide it.

Mike Ashley had no intention of allowing Rafa Benitez to buy Kenedy in the summer, or indeed any other player who would cost more than a minimal amount.

Likewise though, the player himself had no intention of signing permanently in that last transfer window. Even when he was in terrible form early in the season, Kenedy told media back home in Brazil how he was still looking forward to the day when he would be playing regularly for Chelsea.

That isn’t going to happen and at least for this season the player and Newcastle are once again tied together.

It is no surprise that recent times have seen Mike Ashley increasingly drift towards using loan players.

After very mixed results from his policy of buy low/medium and sell high on players from weaker leagues where wages are smaller, the NUFC owner has now instead landed Rafa Benitez with simply survival on as limited a budget as possible, ideally one that delivers £20m+ profits on deals in and out this summer.

All short-term as usual with Mike Ashley, loans are now very much in fashion.

These past 18 months have seen six loan deals already with surely more to come in January.

The likes of Merino, Slimani, Kenedy, Dubravka, Kenedy (again) and Rondon producing very mixed results.

Will you ever get the same commitment from loan players as you would if they were permanent and saw their long-term future at your club?

Whilst Slimani was a disaster, maybe with older pros such as Rondon and Dubravka you will get it, especially when they are more accepting that Newcastle is by far the best club they will get a chance of playing for and will do everything to show they should be retained.

It remains to be seen what we get from Kenedy this season.

He is capable of much better than we have seen overall this season but it could go either way in these next five or six months.

Introducing better quality competition to his place in the team in this next transfer window won’t do any harm at all.

Rafa Benitez talking about Kenedy after Huddersfield:

“I think he knows that he’s not playing at the level he can play.

“Don’t forget though, he is an offensive player who we are playing as a wing-back in a defensive formation…sometimes he was defending two against one.

“So he has to adjust, has to learn…these kind of games will be a good experience for him.

“It was not easy for him because tactically, it was a strange game.

“Huddersfield started with five at the back and as soon as they saw we were playing with five, they then changed to four.

“That means they then have a winger close to Kenedy, and he was wing-back for us – So he then has a winger close to him and a full-back going all the time.

“Normally, Kenedy would go forward.

“He had to deal with the distance and maybe two players coming at him.

“Tactically, for a player who is normally an offensive player, to adjust his position in defence, it was not easy.”
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