Jonjoe Kenny believes he has the "perfect role model" to learn from in Seamus Coleman - as he eyed continuing the "healthy challenge" he has with the Irishman for Everton's right-back spot.
The Kirkdale-born Academy graduate made 25 appearances across all competitions throughout the 2017/18 campaign, covering for the injured Coleman as he recovered from a broken leg.
Kenny caught the eye with his marauding attacking play and disciplined defensive work. He made the fourth highest number of tackles of any Everton player in the Premier League with 41, while his 73 clearances saw him ranked sixth within the squad.
The 21-year-old was pleased to see Coleman adapt back into the side so smoothly when he made his long-awaited return in the 2-1 win against Leicester City on 31 January. And despite the duo vying for the same position, Kenny revealed how influential the Republic of Ireland captain has been in helping him acclimatise to the demands of top-flight football.
“Seamus has been brilliant and for me and is a great role model - I can’t look up to anyone better in the Premier League than him,” Kenny told evertonfc.com.
“He is a top player, has done it for many years and captained his country. For me, coming up, that is where I need to get to. I need to watch him. But I am with him day in, day out in training and he is a great person to learn from.
“Seamus does everything right – he has lived his life right on and off the field. I think for any young lad who wants to be a right-back, I have the perfect example.
“I need to take bits out of his game and watch what he does because he is playing. I want to be Everton’s right-back and so does he. It is a healthy challenge.
“If I keep working hard in training and not take my foot off the gas, then hopefully I can kick on next season.”
Being a born-and-bred Scouser, Kenny has also received plenty of backing from Evertonians both home and away. He has relished the challenge of stepping up to Premier League football, and is grateful for the faith shown in him by his fellow Blues as he continues to develop as a senior player.
“I have loved it,” he added. “I have had some tough tests over the season but young lads need that to learn and develop.
“But the fans have backed me and you can’t ask for much more.
“I want to try to get a place in the team. Of course I want to be challenging. I played my games this season before Seamus came in and was in for a reason.
"I want to keep learning my trade and playing for Everton."