Kelly eyes U21s bow
Monday, 09 August, 2010
Liverpool defender Martin Kelly hoping for debut in Bristol.
Martin Kelly is hoping to cap off a good pre-season campaign at Liverpool with his first Under-21s appearance in Bristol on Tuesday night.
The Three Lions take on Uzbekistan at Ashton Gate in a preparation game ahead of two important Euro 2011 Qualifiers next month, and the 20-year-old defender is excited about the prospect of stepping up to Stuart Pearce’s squad after joining up witht he squad for the first time on Sunday.
During a pre-season under new Anfield boss Roy Hodgson, Kelly played in two friendlies for the Reds and also featured in the away leg of their Europa League qualifier in Macedonia. Having joined them as a seven-year-old, he made his debut eleven years later in the Champions League in 2008 before a loan spell at Huddersfield Town. Last season he also got his maiden appearance in the Premier League.
Now he’s aiming to push on for his club and hopefully add to his previous experience at England’s development levels.
“I’ve been playing well in pre-season so thought there might have been a chance of being involved with this being a friendly, and I’m really made up to be involved,” Kelly told TheFA.com. “I know most of the lads, and it’s good to meet up with them again.
“I’m excited to be here and I can’t wait to get involved. When you get called up for England it’s what you want to do as a professional and something you dream of when you are a kid. Hopefully I can take my chance and show Stuart what I can do and maybe stay involved for the games next month.
“There’s been a few more English lads coming through at Liverpool this pre-season who have had a chance in games. When you get these chances you then have to show that you are capable of making the step up and being involved on a regular basis.”
Although Uzbekistan is an unfamiliar opponent for England teams, the Asian nation did meet the Three Lions at the FIFA U20 World Cup in Egypt a year ago. Coincidentally, Kelly was also playing in that game – a 1-1 draw that ended England hopes of reaching the knock-out stages.
“We had to win the game to get through and their game plan was to sit back and stop us from scoring,” he explained.
“They did that pretty well and then scored on the counter-attack. We had most of the possession, but all the pressure was on us and we were expected to win. I think we were the better team but the result didn’t reflect that and I suppose you have to give them credit as they got what they wanted.
“If we’d have taken our chances then we might have got all three points. It’ll probably be a similar game on Tuesday.”
You can follow all the latest from the England Under-21s camp here on TheFA.com, on the team's Facebook page (www.facebook.com/EnglandU21s), or on Twitter (www.twitter.com/thefadotcom).
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