Jonjoe Kenny says the way Everton “dug deep” at Crystal Palace epitomised the team’s “togetherness” – and the players are “understanding” how David Unsworth wants them to perform.
Kenny skippered Unsworth’s Everton Under-23 Premier League 2 title winners last term and is thankful for the trust the boss has invested in him since taking charge last month.
The 20-year-old is one of only two players – along with Jordan Pickford – to have started all five of Unsworth’s matches at the helm.
And he delivered arguably his finest display for the Club so far in yesterday’s 2-2 draw at Palace, where goals from Leighton Baines and Oumar Niasse cancelled out strikes for the hosts by James McArthur and Wilfried Zaha.
Kenny was involved in a compelling individual slugfest at Selhurst Park with Ivory Coast attacker Zaha, one of the Premier League’s most explosive performers – and the young Evertonian gave as good as he got across 90 breathless minutes.
“That is what I get paid for… that is my job,” Kenny told evertontv.
“I have to stop crosses and stop the wide man influencing the game. I thought I did well against a top player, one of the best in the Premier League at one on ones, so I was happy with my performance.
“I came in against Arsenal (the 5-2 defeat prior to Unsworth assuming the helm), which was a tough game – and I feel in every game I have got better and better.
“I am feeling more confident and comfortable on the ball. It is all part of the experience for me, getting more games under my belt and performing well.
“It was a good performance from the lads. We had to dig deep. We came back from 1-0 down to 1-1 and recovered again to get back to 2-2. It is a hard place to come and we are happy with the point.
“That shows the team spirit we have... we have togetherness. That is part of football, you have to come back and that is what we have done.”
Everton have now collected four points from their past two Premier League matches, after travelling to Palace off the back of a 3-2 victory over Watford.
Unsworth said after the match in south London that he believed the Toffees have “steadily improved” across the course of his short reign.
And the current boss found an assenting voice to that view in his right-back from Kirkdale.
“Unsy had been brilliant for me,” said Kenny. “He has backed me and played me, which is all I can ask for from a manager – to back me.
“The lads really enjoy playing under him. I have been with him three or four years and he has been brilliant.
“I know how he wants to play and he is getting it into the lads now. The lads are understanding how he wants us to perform, now it is (a case of taking it) step by step, game by game.”
Kenny operated in tandem with Aaron Lennon on Saturday – the fourth time in five matches the pair have linked up on Everton's right flank.
He also featured in a back-four which included three England internationals in the shape of Baines, Phil Jagielka and Michael Keane – while Toffees goalkeeper Pickford became a full Three Lions international last week.
The England Under-21 man says he is savouring the opportunity to play alongside such a wealth of high calibre performers.
And he is delighted to see the players further up the pitch starting to flourish, too.
“Oumar has been brilliant ever since he has come in,” added Kenny. “And Dom (Calvert-Lewin) came on and did well for us up top. We have depth up front, both of them are fighting for places and I think they are doing brilliantly.
“I have been playing with Aaron Lennon, for me he has been brilliant. He has helped my game, and I have helped him. We are forming a bit of a partnership and I am really enjoying playing with him.
“I have played with Jags for a couple of games now. And we are forming partnerships (at the back). You are playing with players you have not played with for a while.
“It is about getting to know his game, him getting to know mine… and it ends up becoming comfortable.”