By Gary Ferry
Mikhail Kennedy remains steadfast in his desire for first team football, insisting that U23 football in England is no longer of any benefit to him.
Despite a disappointing spell at Derry City, Kennedy is eager to prove himself and believes that only regular football at a decent level will improve him as a player.
Kennedy is just a few weeks away from recovering from a broken bone in his foot, and from there it is full steam ahead into pre-season training with Charlton Athletic, after which he will decide the next move in his career.
“I’m glad to be back and it’s good to be back because I’m excited for the season ahead,” he said. “Pre-season starts next Monday and we’re going to Dublin so it will be good to see what happens.
“Kenny (Shiels) was keen for me to stay and I wanted to stay myself but I had to come back to Charlton to discuss things anyway, so we’ll see what happens there. Obviously I didn’t play as much as I wanted to at Derry for different reasons that were maybe out of my control but that’s football and you just have to get on with it.”
Despite City struggling for goals this season, Kennedy often found himself a frustrated onlooker and he admits that his luck might have changed if he had got that first goal.
“I got my debut against Cork and I think I showed that I could handle myself and that I could do well,” he said. “All I needed was a run of games. Especially as a striker if you’re not playing you lose your sharpness and I didn’t feel that I could last 90 minutes because I was just training and that doesn’t replicate a game.
“Against St. Pat’s there was a chance which I should have scored. If I had been playing with Charlton in February I would have scored two that game, and I firmly believe that. It’s hard to get going, you need to be playing consistently. In the end up I only played three 90 minutes which isn’t enough. It’s hard to prove yourself in that.”
Ultimately, Kennedy found himself as second choice behind Nathan Boyle with Shiels opting for a solitary striker more often than not. The 20-year-old would have enjoyed the opportunity at playing alongside Boyle however.
“One of my strengths is that I hold the ball up but I think why he looked more at Nathan is because we were playing at Maginn and that’s a big pitch and he was thinking he needed something which could stretch teams in behind,” he explained.
“I wouldn’t be as quick as Nathan but we’re two completely different players so I think we would have worked together, because it would have been the best of both worlds. I think you need that difference and I think you seen a few times that sometimes we didn’t have a plan ‘B’. I like to drop in and get on it but I didn’t get the chance to.”
Kennedy’s Derry City career never really kicked off but as he moves forward with Charlton, he is hoping for better fortune wherever he ends up next.
“Training was at a high level at Derry and it was very tough but I was a bit unlucky as well with injury,” he said. “I never had a break with Charlton. I was playing with them for a full season and then I was going straight into Derry so it was tough.”
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