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Martin Kelly: Opportunity is "Just Around the Corner"

Display an optimism that defies logic, Martin Kelly is convinced this is the summer his senior career will get off the ground in a major way. For real this time.

Clive Mason

The local-boy-comes-good narrative has been in heavy rotation at Liverpool this summer with the return of Rickie Lambert to his childhood club. Released before he ever got anywhere near the first team, the romanticism of the striker finally finding a place at Anfield so late in his career has softened even the stoniest of hearts. Score one for the Scousers.

Martin Kelly has long been another local boy attempting to make it at Liverpool, but major injuries have seriously stunted his ability to nail down anything remotely resembling a regular spot in Brendan Rodgers' line-up. To say it's been disappointing for the player might be a bit of an understatement.

"If you had spoken to me at this time two years ago I was in the Liverpool manager's plans and I was in the England squad," the defender said in a long and slightly depressing interview with the Liverpool Echo. "To get a massive injury like I did really set me back. It's hard to overcome but I don't think you lose talent, it's just match fitness.

"That's why this pre-season is vital for me. I'm feeling good and I've always said I just need to play matches. Hopefully I'll get that this pre-season and take it from there. It's vital for me to get back to the place I was at when Brendan first came in. To do that I need to be playing games week in week out."

Liverpool's current fullback situation does not exactly inspire confidence in many. Jose Enrique and Glen Johnson remain the club's knocked on starters, and Kelly could find himself deputising Johnson in the only role the youngster has ever played at the senior level for Liverpool. If reinforcements arrive, though, he could find himself slipping further down the pecking order, but it's something the defender is remaining optimistic about.

"I'm still a Liverpool player so I think the opportunity to establish myself in the team could be just around the corner," Kelly continued. "That's what football is like. I'm still only 24. I don't really look into the future too far. I know I've still got at least 10 years left in my career.

"Wherever that is, as long as I'm enjoying my football that is all that matters. I've not had a conversation with the manager about my future yet. I've just concentrating on my own game and trying to take every opportunity that I'm given."

At the very least, Kelly certainly has the right attitude that it will take to impress his manager. Whether his form follows suit will be revealed as the tour continues, but this really could be the last chance Kelly has to leave a big enough impression to convince the manager that he should be part of his plans for the future, just like he did two years ago.

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