When Sheffield United reached the final of the FA Youth Cup in 2011 there were, for me, three players who stood out: Harry Maguire, George Long and Elliott Whitehouse.
Not far behind was Maguire’s central defensive partner: less polished than his bigger colleague, but tough in the tackle, a good reader of the game and, quite clearly, as brave as they come. However, he didn’t seem quite tall enough to make a professional centre half.
As Maguire came on in leaps and bounds, Long prospered before stalling and Whitehouse struggled, Terry Kennedy battled injury after injury.
Absent at the start of the season and with Harrison McGahey coming in, Kennedy’s future seemed bleak. But through sheer guts and hard graft he first got fit, then proved to Cloughie that he had a lot to offer. One of those things is being able to kick with both feet, a rarity amongst modern footballers.
Of the seven games he has started this season United have won five and lost just one. He makes up for his lack of inches with awareness and instinct. Like most centre halves from Barnsley and men with lots of tattoos, he is also hard.
As United defended their lead in the league game against Preston, he clattered into the goalpost at the Lane end. As the physio rushed on to the field we feared the worst. But no, he was there to treat the post, which was feeling the effects of its collision with Kennedy.
I’m not saying Kennedy is going to be the Ginger John Terry (as Chris Morgan called him) or even that he’ll ever play in the Premier League, but he’s the type of player Blades fans love to see - home-grown, full of heart and good at what he does.