HE IS said to be destined for the top, and Matthew Kennedy’s down-to-earth mentality should make his progress even smoother.
The 18-year-old winger, who joined the Blues from Kilmarnock in the summer, is so highly-rated he has already been on the bench for David Moyes’ first team this term.
It explains why Killie manager Kenny Sheils was so perturbed to see him snatched from Rugby Park in August, and why Everton’s scouts knew they had helped bring a potential Premier League performer to Finch Farm.
And Kennedy was exhibiting the modest mindset, which will be music to David Moyes’ ears, in the aftermath of helping the club’s U-18s to an impressive 4-2 away victory over Arsenal in the FA Youth Cup.
“Some of the coaches have said, ‘If a player gets on the bench for the first team and comes back, he might not try as hard’,” he said.
“But it’s no different which group you look at here, it’s a team and they’re all winners. I’m still 18 and I’m at college with these lads. They’re all my best mates now.
“This group of boys that we’ve got is unbelievable. We all want to do this together. We’ve all got each other’s back and we know that, so I think we can go all the way.”
Kennedy has also held his own with Alan Stubbs’ U21s side during this debut season, and the Scotland Under-21 international’s attitude reflects the spirit of togetherness fostered at all levels by the Toffees.
Now he wants Sheedy’s youngsters to go all the way in the FA Youth Cup after Monday’s fifth round win over a talented Gunners side.
Coming from 1-0 down to record a 4-2 triumph at Underhill, the Blues sealed their path into the last eight of a competition they last won in 1998.
But after dumping out 2009 champions Arsenal, Kennedy firmly believes that winning the trophy again is a realistic prospect.
“We were saying before the game that we see this as a final – this was going to be one of the hardest games we would have to play if we had hopes of winning the whole thing,” he said.
“All the boys knew about them before the game, but we knew we could do it. They’ve got a lot of great individuals but we’ve got a team.
“It’s not just the goalscorers that got us the victory – a few of our goals have effectively come from last-ditch tackles in our box. A defender has done that, it’s come to another man, he’s got it forward and then it’s in the back of the net.
“You’ve got to give credit to the defence because if they don’t do that, we don’t win. They were unbelievable and everyone else took their chances to get us the goals.
“It was bouncing in the dressing room after the game. Some of the coaches were getting dragged into the showers!”