Leeds United brightest rising star signs first professional contract

10 Jan 2020 06:49 pm, by YorkshireSquare

The pool of great players in Leeds United’s youth sides is unquestioned. But perhaps the biggest gem of them all is Nohan Kenneh who turned just 17 today and celebrated by signing his first professional contract with the club which will run until 2022. Kenneh had recently been playing in the U18s but has recently broken into Carlos Corberan’s Under-23 side following some standout performances. Kenneh has already represented England at U17 level and summer saw rumours European giants Paris Saint-Germain were interested in signing him up as they looked to strengthen their youth setup.

Born in Zwedru City Liberia, Kenneh lived with his auntie and uncle before moving to England at the age of 7 with the dream of becoming a professional footballer, he had always been fascinated by the beautiful game called football. Living in Liberia as a young boy Kenneh used to play on the streets with his friends, it’s the dream of every single child in the part of the world to become a professional footballer, they would miss lunches and dinners and would come home late and get in a lot of trouble, all for the love of the game.

Kenneh started his football in England with Shadwell Utd, champions of their year group he was top scorer during his two seasons there and his performances attracted the attention of Bradford Academy. School commitments and the travel time hampered his chances of continuing for Bradford and so he moved to the York City West Yorkshire Development Centre in Leeds, fellow Leeds player Ryan Edmondson also came to Leeds via this route. His manager soon realised his potential and secured him a place on a Leeds United trial, singing for Leeds in August 2014.

Kenneh made an impressive cameo against Guiseley, video from @FocusOnLeeds

One of Kenneh’s most memorable times with Leeds so far was the 2015 Galway Cup. The team won the cup and Kenneh was received the most valuable player of the tournament award. Impressive performances for the Leeds United U18s side lead to an England U15s call up, his first cap for England coming against Holland at St George's Park with an U16 call up to come in 2018 in victories against Scotland and Turkey. A proud moment for Kenneh and his family, the move to England to follow his dream vindicated.

A defender or deep laying midfielder by trade, but with an eye for goal too, Kenneh’s hero is Patrick Vieira. The Frenchman captured Kenneh’s admiration with his electrifying displays, the way he played and the precision with which he passed the ball. It’s clear from watching Kenneh play he has modelled his style on Vieira and they are not dissimilar. Only just 17 he is a tall and powerful player who didn’t look out of depth against the grown men of Guiseley in pre season. With the links to PSG Kenneh was described as "one of the greatest talents of his generation", a big label to live up to but it will be fun watching him develop at Leeds over the coming seasons.