The official website for European football

Kelly makes the grade at Liverpool

Published: Saturday 2 April 2011, 12.15CET
Like "a new signing" for boss Kenny Dalglish, versatile defender Martin Kelly is emerging as a local favourite at Liverpool FC after shrugging off injury setbacks early in his career.
by Tom Kell
from London

rate galleryrate photo
1/0
counter
  • loading...
Published: Saturday 2 April 2011, 12.15CET

Kelly makes the grade at Liverpool

Like "a new signing" for boss Kenny Dalglish, versatile defender Martin Kelly is emerging as a local favourite at Liverpool FC after shrugging off injury setbacks early in his career.

Name: Martin Kelly
Club:
Liverpool FC
Debut:
9 December 2008 v PSV Eindhoven (UEFA Champions League)
Position:
Right-back
Nationality:
English
Date of birth:
27/04/90

I'm made up with my own form
Martin Kelly
Martin's done very well and it's like a new signing for the club
Kenny Dalglish
Liverpool fans adore it when a youngster comes through the ranks
Former Liverpool winger Steve McManaman

A product of Liverpool's academy, Kelly has progressed admirably having missed two years with a back problem during the embryonic stages of his career. The versatile defender, who can play anywhere across the back line, recovered to break into the Reds' reserve side during the 2007/08 campaign.

He made his senior debut in the next season's UEFA Champions League, coming on as a late substitute in a 3-1 win at PSV Eindhoven on Matchday 6. Then boss Rafael Benítez subsequently allowed the 18-year-old to be loaned to Huddersfield Town AFC, where he appeared seven times in the third tier and scored his first senior goal.

A mainstay of England's FIFA U-20 World Cup team in late 2009, Kelly's first Liverpool start soon arrived: in a 2-1 home defeat by Olympique Lyonnais in the UEFA Champions League group stage. He made only two club appearances in the 2009/10 campaign thereafter, before truly establishing himself this term – receiving England Under-21 recognition as a result.

While Kelly began to force his way into the Liverpool side under Roy Hodgson, it was when Kenny Dalglish assumed the reins that he nailed a regular spot for the Anfield club. So assured were his displays that England right-back Glen Johnson was moved to the left of defence to accommodate his younger counterpart before injury struck in the form of a hamstring problem in late February.

Breakthrough game
Liverpool FC 2-2 Everton FC
16/01/11, Premier League

Having had just three Premier League outings during Hodgson's brief tenure, Kelly soon found favour under the returning Dalglish. Despite having started only two top-flight games in his career, he was thrown into the first XI for the visit of Merseyside rivals Everton and turned in an impressively composed display.

He says:
"The injury made me more determined. Having those two years out meant I missed so much from my development. I was lucky to get a chance to come to [Liverpool training ground] Melwood."
On his early injury setback

"I'm made up with my own form. Hopefully I'll keep training well and get a chance to play. In the Premier League, Europa League and Champions League you need to play three times a week so it's really good to do that."
On finding a regular starting berth

They say:
"Martin's done very well and it's like a new signing for the club. It doesn't matter your age, if you're performing you'll have a chance of playing and he's certainly deserved his opportunities."
Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish

"It has been fantastic for Martin to come and play. If he keeps playing like that, Glen [Johnson] may have a problem."
Dalglish on Kelly challenging England defender Johnson's spot

"Liverpool fans adore it when a youngster comes through the ranks – certainly someone from Liverpool.  I think a home-grown player like myself, Robbie Fowler, Jamie Carragher or Steven Gerrard is a little bit more special."
Former Liverpool winger Steve McManaman

Last updated: 07/12/13 5.31CET

Related information

Player profiles
Member associations
Team profiles

http://www.uefa.com/memberassociations/association=eng/news/newsid=1613230.html#kelly+makes+grade+liverpool

  • © 1998-2014 UEFA. All rights reserved.
  • The UEFA word, the UEFA logo and all marks related to UEFA competitions, are protected by trade marks and/or copyright of UEFA. No use for commercial purposes may be made of such trade marks. Use of UEFA.com signifies your agreement to the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.