City skipper Mark Fotheringham tonight lifted the lid on the latest arrival in Norwich's midst – strapping Celtic centre-half John Kennedy.
Like Arturo Lupoli,Kennedy missed last night's 5-1 defeat by a rampant Spurs side due to little more than paperwork as the Scottish FA failed to process the required international clearance forms in time for the 24-year-old to make his first appearance in front of the Carrow Road faithful.
For now, therefore, he remains something of a mystery. Back home in Glasgow, however, and Kennedy already has a certain legendary air about him after his blossoming Bhoys career was put on hold for the better part of three years by a horrific knee injury sustained on his Scottish international debut against Romania in March, 2004.
Ioan Ganea was the guilty party; stamping on Kennedy's left knee and ripping it assunder in the process – and all just days after the 20-year-old had delivered a towering performance for Celtic in their trip to the Nou Camp home of Barcelona. That famous 0-0 draw in their UEFA Cup fourth round clash, of course, also featured one David Marshall in goal.
“He's a big strong lad,” said Fotheringham, in a better place than most to judge Carrow Road's latest arrival.
Kennedy was the youngest-ever player to make his debut for the Bhoys in April, 2000, aged just 16 years and 231 days – a record that Fotheringham himself then broke shortly afterwards.
Allowed to learn his trade in the reserves under Martin O'Neill, Kennedy was delivering performances way beyond his 20 years when injury heart-break struck.
“He's really strong in the air and he's a good footballer on the ground as well,” added Fotheringham. “And he's a good character – he wants to win. So he's going to be a good addition to the squad.”
The character test has long been answered – few players come back from three years out with a knee injury. The character question was asked again last November when Kennedy again injured his left knee in a Champions League clash against Shaktar Donetsk; again it sidelined him for the rest of the season.
“He brings a wealth of experience playing for the champions of Scotland – and he's played a lot of games in the Champions League,” said Fotheringham, as City boss Glenn Roeder stepped into the developing row between Celtic and Motherwell to whip the player south on that six month loan.
“I think there was other clubs that were coming in for him last week,” said the City midfielder, with Preston North End one of those to be mentioned.
“But it was all testament to the gaffer in getting him down here,” added Fotheringham, suggesting that the Celtic old-boys club also had a part to play.
“Myself and Marshy [David Marshall] want a cut of the transfer fee,” he joked. “But in all seriousness it's nice to have him here – he's a good lad and I'm sure he'll bring a lot to the squad.”
With Gary Doherty now sidelined for at least three months with the ankle injury sustained in the opening tour game of Sweden, Kennedy's arrival certainly has a good sense of timing.
Roeder himself sees not so much a good lad, but a real man – another big character to bolt into his thinking ahead of another long, hard slog through the Championship trenches.
In theory, Kennedy should make his first appearance for the Canaries this Saturday in City's final dress rehearsal for the start of the new season against Colchester United.
“We're hoping that Kennedy's international clearance will come through before Saturday so he can play a part in Saturday's game,” said the City chief, speaking after last night's 5-1 defeat by Spurs.
“But it's all done and dusted – he's our player,” added Roeder, who thus far has liked what he's seen and heard from the Celtic Park hero.
“I've met him twice now – and he's a man. He's someone you certainly wouldn't pick a fight with – he's got a big, physical presence.
“And if anyone deserves any luck not to pick up any more injuries it is John Kennedy because he's had more than his fair share.”
If nothing else, at least the brief loan spell at Motherwell topped his fitness up.
“He's played games for Motherwell; he's played well for Motherwell and he's pretty fit but he'll need to play part of the game on Saturday.”