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Article about Kenedy in The Athletic:

A loan move to Newcastle United in January 2018 provided a chance to focus on football again. They were in a relegation scrap when Kenedy joined but turned things around in stirring fashion in the second half of the season, winning six of their last 12 matches to finish 10th. The Brazilian became an instant fan favourite, and the appreciation was mutual.

“I felt at home there,” he recalls. “I can still remember my first game at St James’ Park. It was spectacular. We only drew (1-1 against Burnley), but it was a great game. I could feel the warmth of the fans in the stadium. My friend was watching from the stands, and when I spoke to him after the match he said that he had felt the same thing.

“Those first few months were great. It was a brilliant end to the season. The Newcastle supporters are amazing, so fanatic. I’m happy to have experienced that. It was the best.”

Kenedy has fond memories of Rafa Benitez — “He taught me how to be a team player, to do my job in a system” — and says he clicked with many of his team-mates from that time: he is still in touch with Ayoze Perez, Joselu, Javier Manquillo and Salomon Rondon. Spot the pattern there? “It was easier to speak Spanish,” he laughs. “I didn’t understand much English down in London, so imagine me up there in Newcastle with that accent! It was complicated.”

After those initial six months, it was no surprise that Chelsea allowed him to return to Tyneside for the 2018-19 campaign. But his performances fell off a cliff: he missed a late penalty in a 0-0 draw against Cardiff City in the second match of the season and things didn’t pick up much thereafter. He accepts now that he was below par. But there were, he explains, mitigating circumstances.

“It was a difficult season, really tough,” he says. “My family stayed in London when I went up to Newcastle, and it was just different. I was used to being on my own because I left home as a teenager. But when you start a family, it becomes more difficult when you’re far away.”


Shame he fell off a cliff he was so good those first few months

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