Darren Kenton

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Darren Kenton is an English defender who was born in Wandsworth on 13th September 1978. He began his career at Norwich City and was part of the clubs successful youth academy side in 1996/97. Kenton, who operates primarily as a right back, made his Canaries debut on 4th October 1997. He established himself as a semi regular at Carrow Road in 1998/99 under manager Bruce Rioch, and scored his first goal for the club on 8th August 1998 in a 2-1 win over Crewe. The youngster could have left the Norfolk club in August 1999 when he was transfer listed after a contract dispute with Rioch, but stayed at Norwich until 2003 however, playing in more and more games every season.

Kenton signed for Southampton in May 2003. He made his Saints debut on 28th December 2003 in a 1-0 home defeat to Arsenal, having spent the previous four months injured. Kenton was something of an enigma during his stay at St Marys. Occasionally he looked an absolute world beater, and someone who wouldn’t look out of place at a much bigger club, whereas other times he looked like Division 3 player. Kenton surprisingly reserved some of his better performances for the bigger games. His composed display against Chelsea on 1st May was one of the best defensive performances from a Saints player the entire campaign, despite the scoreline, which saw Chelsea run out 4-0 winners. Kenton also played very well in games against Portsmouth and Arsenal in 2004/05. What he lacked in height, he made up for in intelligent positioning. Unfortunately Kenton couldn’t get any real consistency going, and was at fault for a few goals Saints conceded in their relegation season. After a truly dire performance in a 5-1 drubbing at Tottenham on December 18th 2004, Kenton was frozen out of the side by manager Harry Redknapp, who was distinctly unimpressed by the former Norwich man. In March 2005 Kenton joined Leicester City for a short loan spell.

Kenton was back at Southampton in 2005/06, but was only used sparingly. He scored his first and only goal for the club in an FA Cup 3rd round tie with MK Dons on 7th January 2006. Kenton failed to make any other notable contributions during the campaign however, and was released on a free in May 2006.

On June 27th 2006 Kenton rejoined Leicester on a free transfer. He had a reasonable campaign for the Foxes in 2006/07, featuring in exactly half of the clubs league matches. Kenton scored his first goal for the club in a 4-2 win over Stoke on 31st March 2007. The former Saints full back rarely appeared for the Walkers Stadium side in 2007/08, before joining League 1 outfit Leeds in January. Kenton helped Leeds qualify for the play-offs, where they were eliminated by Doncaster in the final. He left the club on 28th May 2008 after his Elland Road contract expired.

On 2nd October 2008 Kenton signed a short term deal at Cheltenham, who were managed by his former Leicester boss Martin Allen. He left the League 1 strugglers on 6th January 2009 after turning down a new extended contract offer. Shortly after departing Whaddon Road, Kenton had a trial at Toronto FC, but failed to earn himself a contract with the MLS outfit. On April 9th 2009 Kenton penned a one year deal with Rochester Rhinos, who play in third tier of American soccer. Kenton made his final appearance for the club in the US Open Cup against DC United on 22nd July 2009 before being released.