Erick Kenko looks to follow in famous footsteps
He spent four years learning his trade at the same academy that produced Chris Smalling and Ryan Sessegnon, while he was scouted from the same local grassroots side as Aaron Wan-Bissaka. So Swansea City midfielder Erick Kenko is looking to follow in some famous footsteps.
The 16-year-old recently made his debut for Swansea City’s under-23 side, having joined on a two-year scholarship in the summer following his departure from Fulham.
He previously spent four years in the Cottagers’ academy – an age-grade set-up that produced the likes of current Tottenham wing-back Sessegnon and Manchester United centre-half Smalling, who has won five major honours at Old Trafford.
Kenko had been scouted from local South London side Junior Elite FC – where notable alumni include another United defender Wan-Bissaka, who completed a £50 million move to the Red Devils from Crystal Palace in the summer, as well as Arsenal academy graduate and England Under-17 World Cup winner Emile Smith-Rowe.
Since making the switch to South Wales, the first-year scholar has been a regular feature for the under-18s – making eight appearances in all competitions.
His consistent form led to Gary Richards and Cameron Toshack handing him a debut for the development side in the Premier League 2 Division 2 defeat against leaders West Ham United earlier this month.
Kenko drew praise from Toshack as he produced an assured performance in the middle of the park – demonstrating an impressive range of passing while also making important interceptions to break down the Hammers’ attacks.
And he is hopeful that more appearances at that level will follow.
“I was delighted to make my debut for the under-23s,” he said.
“I have worked hard to get here, so I’m glad it has paid off and been acknowledged by the coaches.
“I did everything I could to ensure that I could play to the best of my ability.
“My aim now is to get some more minutes under my belt soon.
“Whether I start or feature as a substitute, I will be grateful for any opportunities.
“Hopefully, I can keep pushing for more as the season progresses.”
It is now approaching five months since Kenko signed on the dotted line in SA1.
And he says the switch from London has been a smooth transition.
“I have settled in really well,” he added.
“Everyone at the club has been very welcoming which has helped me get used to the new city and new surroundings, as well as the club itself.
“It is a great club and I really like the philosophy and the way we play.”