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In Depth | Nohan Kenneh

4 January 2024


In Depth | Nohan Kenneh

4 January 2024

Nohan Kenneh has been a colossal presence in Shrewsbury’s midfield this season – with his tough tackling and ability to read the game impressing Town fans.

And the midfielder – who is inspired by Manchester City and Barcelona great Yaya Toure – believes his move to the Croud Meadow has been the perfect step as he works to fulfil his undoubted potential.   

Born in Liberia, Nohan left the county of his birth aged seven with his family then moving to Leeds.   

But while the cold weather took some adapting to, his love for football ensured he quickly settled into life in the UK.   

And it wasn’t long before local scouts started to realise there was a player on their doorstep with real talent.   

“I came to England when I was seven years old and my first thought when I got here was to look for a ball,” Nohan said.   

“First and foremost, we came here for a better life, for a better education because education is so important to my family.   

“It was made clear to me at a very young age that I had to be good in school – and if I was good in school everything else would follow.   

“When we first arrived, the priority was to learn about the country, the environment and the culture.   

“It was tough to get used to, especially coming from Liberia which was really hot. We came in December, so it was really cold!   

“But growing up, it was all about football for me. As soon as I saw the ball I just wanted to play and I knew that would help me settle and make friends here.   

“I started school. Then I had to find some friends. And the best way to do that was to play football.    

“Nobody knew me, but I started playing football and suddenly I had a lot of friends.   

“Whenever it was play-time I would go out and play. I would run straight from lessons to the pitch and try and show people what I could do and get more friends.”   

A football-mad city, it wasn’t long before Nohan was dreaming of playing for Leeds United. And at the age of 12, he was offered a trial by the Yorkshire giants.   

“I was playing at school and then I got scouted for Sunday league,” Nohan continued.   

“Then at Sunday league, Leeds found me and offered me a trial. I was around 12 years old when I joined them.   

“Playing at academy level was a massive step up for me.   

“I had been playing Sunday league just for fun. Then there I was going into an environment where everyone was taking everything really seriously.   

“I had to quickly up my game.”   

Nohan did up his game – with the midfielder quickly rising through the age groups at Elland Road.   

“The thing that was great about Leeds was that they always challenged me,” he said.   

“I played a lot of academy football and I’m incredibly grateful to all the staff there for what they did for me.   

“I’d grown up watching Yaya Toure. I watched him at Barcelona and Man City and I wanted to be just like him. That’s why I wear number 42.   

“Leeds were great because they knew I wanted to be a midfielder and they always pushed me. If I did well, they put me up an age group.    

“There was a point where I was 13 years old and I was playing under-16s and under-18s.   

“They were always challenging me which was great.    

“Then people started seeing me outside of Leeds. England spotted me and I represented them at under-16s and under-17s. That was really good for me.”

With Nohan continuing to impress, legendary Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa invited him to train with the first team.   

“He (Bielsa) gave me my first call up to the senior team,” the midfielder continued.   

“He is a special, special, character and a special, special, coach.   

“I owe a lot to him. He developed me tactically, how to position myself when the team has the ball and when they haven’t.

“He used to love youngsters going up to train with the first team, that was his philosophy. It was amazing.”


Despite having a burning ambition to play for Leeds’ first team, Nohan decided to turn down the offer of a new contract with the Yorkshire side in favour of a move to Scottish outfit Hibs.   

He said: “I think all youngsters should be striving to play first-team football, I wanted to play so that’s why I turned the deal down.   

“I loved Leeds, I would love to play in their first team and you never know in the future.   

“But I felt for my career, I needed to move away from Leeds and test myself in a first team.   

“I had been playing in an academy for a long time, so I needed to play in a first-team environment.   

“I joined Hibs and it was really good, it was all the things I expected   

“In every game, I was developing as a player and as a person. I then went on loan to Ross County to get more game time.   

“Last season was a good season for me, I managed to play a lot of games and get a lot of experience under my belt.”   

This year, Nohan has been a mainstay in Town’s team with the midfielder having featured 26 times for Matt Taylor’s side, netting one goal and adding two assists from a holding position.

And he admits he is loving his time in Shropshire.   

“It’s been fantastic - every time I step onto the pitch, I feel more confident,” he said.   

“The boys here make me feel confident and they trust me. The manager trusts me in possession and out of possession.   

“And I feel day in, day out, I am developing as a player and as a person. I’m being allowed to showcase my talent.    

“For me it’s about working hard every day and trying to improve as a player.   

“And I am really enjoying doing that here. The lads are all great and me and TP (Taylor Perry) are really close.   

“Off the pitch we joke and banter. But on the pitch, we are very serious, and we play well with each other.    

“He is a great player and he’s shown his quality this season.”   


Earlier this year, Nohan became a senior international when he was called up by Liberia.   

And he says playing for his national side is his greatest achievement to date.   

“Playing for your country is a brilliant feeling,” he added.   

“It’s the best thing any footballer can do and achieve.   

“Your family is there watching you; you know it’s going to be a massive step.   

“But I felt ready. I had been playing with England at youth level so I knew the international environment.   

“But I always wanted to represent Liberia.  There was no second thought, I’m so proud to represent them.” 

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