Youth Teams
Youth Teams

Young Lion Lloyd Kelly on England call-ups, training trips to Botswana and goal GIFs

England U20s defender Lloyd Kelly has had an enjoyable introduction to life with the Young Lions. After receiving his first international call-up, the Bristol City defender has become a popular member of Keith Downing’s squad. And the Bristolian tells us how he still has to pinch himself at how his career has changed so quickly…

Monday 13 Nov 2017
LLoyd Kelly of Bristol City during training with England U20s at St. George's Park

It’s been a pretty crazy couple of months for me really, what with making my debut for Bristol City earlier this season and then getting a call-up for England.

It’s been class actually, and the international weeks have meant coming away from the club and getting a different experience to what I usually get.

Getting the first call-up is something I won’t forget. I initially knew I was on standby the first time, for the games in September so didn’t think I’d be involved.

But then a day later, I got a text message to say I was in and loads of people at the club were saying well done and things like that.

I made my debut as a sub in the win against Holland and then I started against Switzerland away

Then, when I got picked again for the games in October, it was even better and a real confidence boost.

Confidence is a massive thing in football and at the moment, I’m high on confidence and just trying to keep doing what I’m doing.

I’ve had a couple of chances in the City team in the EFL Cup this season, which I enjoyed and anything can happen between now and the end of the season, so I just need to keep cracking on.

I’m a Bristol boy, I grew up there and was a City fan all along so it’s been a dream really.

But it wasn't easy growing up for me though, as we went into foster care when I was about six or seven years old and was moved around a few homes. I only recently left, when I was 18. That’s when it stops legally.  

I was with my brother and sister. It was a family – a woman and a guy – and we moved to three different places throughout the years, different families for three or four years each. We were all together which was nice and us three now are as solid as a rock. 

I’m grateful for what everyone has done for me. They didn’t have to, it was nice they were willing to help us and I believe those experiences give me a better outlook on life now. 

Lloyd Kelly has featured in all of Keith Downing's squads so far this season

For instance, I still remember a good couple of years ago now, when I went with the club’s Community Trust on a trip to Botswana. I was just doing workshops with young kids and things like that.

It was a big moment for me and I was quite shocked and surprised at what the environment is out there and how happy the people are with it. Even though they’re not in the best circumstances, they still live life to the fullest and that was one of the things I took from the trip.

It was nice to mix in with everyone, play games and sessions with them and when we gave them City shirts at the end, the kids were buzzing so that was good to see.

But while we were there, the first team were also playing their pre-season games in Botswana and we were able to go watch the games and I remember sitting there watching them and thinking, this is what I want to do.

So, two or three years down the line when I’m doing the training in pre-season with them and quite a few of those senior players are still there, it’s been quite weird.

One thing I still haven’t got though, is one of those special goal GIFs which have been so popular! But hopefully, I’ll try and get one in the next few weeks!

For now though, I’m concentrating on Tuesday’s game in Germany. The boys have been good this season, we’ve all gelled quite well and had some good results over the last couple of months.

The last camp was probably the most successful, a 5-1 win in Italy and then 4-0 against Czech Republic at St. George’s, so everything’s been going well so far.

But I think this will be the biggest test we’ve had over the last couple of months. We’ve had some good results, but so have Germany so it’s a chance for us to put a statement out if we go and beat this lot so we’re all looking forward to the game.

By Lloyd Kelly Bristol City and England defender