Kenny Aims For Formidable Link With 'Top-Class' Walcott

by Paul McNamara

Jonjoe Kenny is confident he can forge a potent right-sided relationship with “top-class” Theo Walcott after the pair linked up for the first time against West Bromwich Albion at the weekend.

Right-back Kenny has played 15 of Everton’s past 16 Premier League matches following his top-flight debut back in October. In that period, the Academy graduate has operated in tandem with Aaron Lennon, Yannick Bolasie and Wayne Rooney, and on Saturday struck up a new partnership with Walcott after the attacker’s move from Arsenal last week.

England international Walcott marked his Toffees debut by laying on an equalising goal for substitute Oumar Niasse, and shortly after that decisive contribution unleashed a 20-yard volley which drew a flying save from Baggies goalkeeper Ben Foster.

An overlapping Kenny dovetailed neatly with his new teammate on a few occasions, while Walcott also provided his full-back with good defensive cover when called upon and sent a succession of menacing deliveries into the visitors’ penalty box throughout the 90 minutes .

And 20-year-old Kenny is looking forward to developing a profitable understanding with the former Southampton player, a process that could potentially be accelerated over the course of the next week.

Everton have an 11-day break between matches, with the Blues next in action when Leicester City visit Goodison Park for a Premier League encounter on 31 January.

“Theo is another top-class player,” Kenny told evertontv. “It will take time for me to get to know his game – and for him to get to know mine.

“That will happen game by game, but he is a top player and a great addition to our squad.

“It was a great assist [for Niasse’s goal]. A great ball from Wazza [Wayne Rooney, to pick out Walcott] and a top finish from Oumar.

“Now we have time on the training ground to keep working hard and progressing – and to look forward to the next game.

“The most important thing is to develop those relationships, for the new players to get to know the team and the players – and for us to become a group again.”

The clash with Alan Pardew's West Brom – which ended all-square after Niasse's swiped close-range finish cancelled out Jay Rodriguez's seventh-minute opener for the visitors – was overshadowed by a serious injury to midfielder James McCarthy.

Republic of Ireland international McCarthy sustained a suspected double-leg fracture as he cut-off Baggies striker Salomon Rondon’s route to goal.

The 27-year-old had been piecing together a run in the team after the first half of his campaign was wiped out by successive knee and hamstring problems.

McCarthy made his comeback in the game at Bournemouth on Boxing Day – and was starting his third match on the bounce against West Bromwich.

And Kenny was quick to send his best wishes to McCarthy, who is in his fifth season at Goodison after moving from Wigan Athletic early in the 2013/14 campaign.

“It is not nice – he has had a few injuries, then come back and been brilliant for us,” said Kenny.

"I am gutted for him. He is top class on and off the field and I wish him all the best.”

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