‘I didn’t really feel like I was in love with football any more’ – Kenton loving return as Canaries coach
- Credit: Archant
Darren Kenton is back in the fold at Norwich City and rediscovering his love for football as he helps nurture some of the Canaries' potential future stars.
The former City defender has been coaching the club's under-13 squad this season and is the latest player to be added to the legends squad which will face Inter Forever at Carrow Road on Sunday, May 20.
After leaving Norwich for Southampton on a free transfer in 2003 Kenton's career was hindered by injuries, going on to have spells at Leicester and Leeds as well.
'I'm coaching the under-13s, I've been doing that since July,' the 39-year-old explained. 'It's great, I've been back a little while, I was coaching the under-12s part-time last season, so it's great to actually work with the same age group as last year. So it's been good as far as being back involved with football.'
Kenton played his last Football League game for Cheltenham when he was just 30, before a brief spell in the USA with second-tier Rochester Rhinos in New York, but has now started out as a coach.
'It wasn't actually an ambition,' he continued. 'It probably would have been the natural progression for my career when I finished playing but because it got cut short so suddenly, I didn't really feel like I was in love with football any more.
'Once I had taken a few years out of it my friend actually asked me to go and do a bit of coaching at Barkingside, which was like one man and his dog at every game! But even that, there were points at stake, we were bottom of the league at the time and trying to get them up the table, so that excitement got me back into the job.'
Kenton admits his exit back in 2003 became a 'horrible' situation, after 175 appearances and nine goals, eventually leaving as he didn't get the contract offer he was expecting from City amid regular links to top-flight clubs including Newcastle and Everton.
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But that had followed two seasons of excellent form, playing a key role at right-back as Nigel Worthington's team of 2002 reached the play-off final.
'It was just unfortunate we couldn't take that one step further,' he reflected on that painful day at the Millennium Stadium. 'It's probably one of the biggest regrets of my career not to take one of the penalties and to leave it to Sutchy but it was a good couple of seasons for me.'
• Tickets are £9.93 for adults and £1.93 for U18s and are available at tickets.canaries.co.uk, by phone on 0844 826 1902 or from the ticket offices at Carrow Road, Castle Mall or Chapelfield.
• Find out more information about the Build the Nest campaign at thenest.org.uk
• For all the players announced for the game, see our Build The Nest section