Jonjoe Kenny in front of the Hertha badge
First team | June 14, 2022, 06:00 PM

“I’m obsessed with getting better”

Born and raised down the road from Goodison Park, a fighter on the pitch, a footballer defined by speed, hard work and ambition – that is Jonjoe Kenny, and the new Hertha man can’t wait to get started in Berlin. “I want to take the chance the club has given me to demonstrate my qualities as best I can and give Hertha everything that I possibly can. I’m obsessed with getting better,” says the 25-year-old with a smile. The Liverpool-born defender took the time for his first interview as a Herthaner after signing his contract with the club. The Englishman spoke to about his return to the Bundesliga, unforgettable derby days and leaving his comfort zone. Jonjoe, welcome to the capital! What were your reasons behind this move?
Kenny: Thanks, I’m really excited to be here. Joining Hertha was an offer I couldn’t refuse. Being able to play for such a big club in the Bundesliga – it’s like asking if one add one makes two. I had a great time playing for Schalke in the Bundesliga [in 2019/20]. With the playing style here, the atmosphere, the fans – it’s a league with so much quality. I can hardly wait to get back to it. It 100 percent feels like the right step. What are your goals with Hertha?
Kenny: I want to demonstrate my qualities as much as poissble, have fun playing football and give Hertha everything that I possibly can. That will work a lot better if get to know the language and the local culture quickly. I want to take the chance that the club has given me. Of course my work on the pitch takes priority, but I don’t just want to play football here, I want to contribute as a person too. You have a lot of experiences to look back on and have played in a number of divisions in the UK. Now you’re back for a second spell in the German top flight. How have all those experiences shaped you has a footballer?
Kenny: When you get to know so many different cultures, it really helps you grow as a person. Leaving my comfort zone will also help me get better as a player. Seeing a new part of the world, speaking a new language, meeting new people – they will all help me. I’m looking forward to the experience. What can the fans look forward to seeing from you when you’re on the pitch? 
Kenny: They will see an aggressive player. I love tackling and defending, but also getting forward. I try to have as much of a positive influence as I can on the team. Helping my teammates and getting the very best out of myself at every moment – that’s what motivates me.

I love tackling and defending, but also getting forward. I try to have as much of a positive influence as I can on the team.

-Jonjoe Kenny You have no doubt benefitted from working under prominent coaches like Frank Lampard Rafael Benítez, Carlo Ancelotti and Ronald Koeman. Which coach has had the most influence on you?
Kenny: That was Frank Lampard. All of the coaches that I have worked under have helped me, but he was particularly beneficial. He did an incredible job in a difficult situation at Everton and gave me belief in myself as a player. We had a good relationship – he’s a great guy and top coach. At 25 years old, you’ve already played in the Merseyside derby, the Old Firm derby in Glasgow and in the Ruhr derby. Which one was the most intense?
Kenny: Rangers against Celtic is such an imposing derby, but it’s one I only know behind closed doors. Personally, it has to be Liverpool vs. Everton, especially as that’s what I grew up watching as a fan. It meant so much to me to play in one of them myself. The atmosphere between Schalke and Dortmund was also really impressive. I know how much those battles mean, particularly for the fans, the locals and the people in the region, so I’m really looking forward to my first Berlin derby.

Playing football is all I have done since I can remember – it’s all I ever wanted to do.

-Jonjoe Kenny You grew up five minutes away from Everton’s ground Goodison Park in Liverpool – a city that lives and breathes football. You started playing football when you were five years old. Can you describe to us what the game means to you?

Kenny: Playing football is all I have done since I can remember – it’s all I ever wanted to do. I come from a working-class background, I had a great childhood and have achieved everything that I wanted and dreamt of as a young boy. My parents and my whole family have always supported me and pushed me on – they wanted me to work hard to fulfil that dream. Football has made all of this possible for me and even though I’m on holiday right now, I can’t wait to get going. I’m obsessed with getting better (laughs).

Jonjoe Kenny during his medical
New signing Jonjoe Kenny completes his medical You’re only the second English player in our club history, but also the second Evertonian! Mark Farrington, who was also born in Liverpool, played in Belin between 1990 and 1991 and was also a youth player at your former club. Do you know him?
Kenny: Unfortunately not, but that’s quite the coicidence. Perhaps I should get hold of his telephone number and ask him for a few tips (laughs). Do you have a nickname? What do your teammates usually call you?
Kenny: Normally, I’m just Jonjoe. But if someone fancies making up a nickname for me, I’m open to anything… Speaking of Jonjoe, is it true that you have your sister to thank for your first name?
Kenny: Yes, that’s right. She is five years older than me and met someone called Jonjoe when she was a kid. She liked the name so much that she convinced my mum that her little brother should also be called Jonjoe. Will you be coming to Berlin with anyone?
Kenny: My girlfriend will come with me. We want to begin a new chapter in our lives together here. It’s a great opportunity for both of us to experience a new city and a new country, and we want to enjoy it as much as possible. When you‘re not on the pitch, how do you spend your free time? Do you have some hobbies that might interest our fans?
Kenny: I love just going for a coffee or getting some great food at a restaurant. I like to pick up a book now and again. My favourites are from famous athletes – it interests me to see how they train, live and how they reached the big time. I also like going to the zoo and have already seen that there’s a big one here – I’ll have to pay it a visit soon. I’m a simple guy and you won’t find me playing golf or something – I don’t have the patience for that (laughs).

by Hertha BSC