McKenzie Proud To Represent Hometown Club
Robbie McKenzie has spoken of his immense pride at playing for his hometown club following his breakthrough season at first-team level.
The 20-year-old has been on the Tigers' books for more than a decade after joining the Academy ranks in the Under-10s age group and - after working his way up through the youth ranks to make his debut against Doncaster Rovers in the Carabao Cup in 2017/18 - enjoyed his breakthrough season at first-team level last term to gain a well-deserved reward for all of his hard work over the years.
"It means an awful lot to play for my hometown club," he said. "Coming from Hull, it means that little bit more than maybe it does to someone who isn't from the area.
"It's definitely been a long journey - lots of hard work - but it's been enjoyable at the same time. I started out here at Under-10s when I was nine and it's nice to see a reward for all of the hard work I've put in and the sacrifices I've made over the years.
"I've made so many memories and a lot of good friends from my time coming up through the youth ranks.
"I learnt an awful lot during that time - a lot of tactical stuff as well as the obvious physical side of the game. I can't thank all of my coaches enough for how much they've helped me over the years, along with the role my family have played. Making my family proud means everything to me.
"The whole journey has been very rewarding. It feels like it's been a long time coming and even though to some it may look as though I've got over the line, I know that there is still plenty more hard work ahead. I'm nowhere near it yet and I need to keep going in order to push on and improve."
McKenzie, who made his first league appearance as a Hull City player when coming off the bench in the 3-2 win at Rotherham United back in August, went on to rack up a total of 21 appearances in all competitions for Nigel Adkins' side in 2018/19 - featuring in five of the Tigers' ten clean sheet victories during the course of the campaign.
Reflecting on his own personal campaign, the versatile defender added: "Personally, it's been a good season for me. I’ve learned what it’s like in the first-team environment because this is my first real season doing that. I’ve loved every minute of it.
"I've made a lot of progress and, if someone had said to me at the start of the season that I'd make 20 first-team appearances, I wouldn't have believed them.
"I feel as though when I look back on this season I’ll be able to think I’ve achieved something. But, I know that I need to keep going. I just want to keep kicking on.
"I'm fully focused on making next season better than the one I've just had - and then hopefully continue with that trend in the following season after that.
"I just want to keep improving, keep developing and play for this football club for a long, long time. My aim is to be a Hull City player for as long as I possibly can.
"It's an amazing feeling to walk out in front of the fans and play for this club and it's one that I want to experience many more times in the years to come."
Along with Jarrod Bowen, Dan Batty, Brandon Fleming, Max Sheaf and Keane Lewis-Potter, McKenzie was one of six Academy products to feature for the first-team during 2018/19 - a statistic which the former South Holderness School pupil believes highlights the outstanding work currently being done in the Tigers' youth set-up.
"We’ve always had a good youth system here and it just needed someone to take a chance on the young lads," he continued. "The pathway is there now. Youngsters train with the first team most weeks where in the past that wasn’t the case.
"There’s a lot of hard work – and very good work – going on behind the scenes at the Academy that not too many people get to see. The coaches all work very hard and give their all to help players improve and develop in all areas of their game.
"It’s great to see that players are coming through now and proving that they can make the step up to the next level whilst also showing how good the Academy is."
Click here to watch the full interview with Robbie McKenzie, which forms part of the Club's 'Who's Next?' campaign.