Towards the end of the 2015/2016 season, Liam Kelly was turning out for Bath City in their 2-0 home win to Margate in the National League South on the final day of the season.
Only 8 months later, Kelly was playing in the Reading first team in front of a sold-out Old Trafford in the 3rd round of the FA Cup. It was this moment that has stood out as one of his most proud moments of his career so far.
“Playing at Old Trafford is my most proud moment of my career, that or scoring my first goal for the club away at Bristol City this season.”
The 20 year old Irishman has made a rapid rise up to the first team squad with Reading and has already featured 28 times for the Berkshire based club in the Championship.
Kelly is keen to maintain his positive start to the season and push on with Reading.
“My aim is to just to keep pushing on and keep learning everyday. I’m still young and there is a long way to go.”
And the youngster was full of praise for the Reading supporters and described it as “a dream” to play for the club.
“The fans to me have been fantastic, the reception I get every time I step on the pitch is something you dream of as a little boy. So I can’t thank them enough for the support.”
Kelly who has been with the club since the age of 8, has had many notable achievements in his career so far and admits that one of his best moments in his young career to date was the stunning comeback against Liverpool in the FA Youth Cup.
“I’ve been involved in a lot of great games, especially growing up in the youth teams, we had a great team and we won a lot of games. But my favourite game I’ve been involved in was probably a few years ago when we played Liverpool in the FA Youth cup, probably the best game I’ve ever played in.
We were 3-1 down with about 5 minutes to go and got it back to 3-3 with the last kick of the game. We managed to win on penalties to get to the Semi Finals.”
The Irishmen’s season has gone from strength to strength as Kelly received his first senior call up to the Republic Of Ireland squad for the games against Wales and Iceland. Kelly expressed his delight at the news.
“I’ve played at Under 19’s and under 21’s so far, and it was a great feeling and honour to get a senior call up. So hopefully I can keep doing well and get myself a few senior caps.”
Kelly, who’s favoured position is as an attacking number 10, also spent the back of last season at Bath City where he scored 6 times for the National League North side in an experience that developed him into the player he is now at Reading.
“I’ve had one loan towards the end of last season at Bath City. I enjoyed every moment I was there. It was a different type of experience to what I was used to playing at Reading everyday.”
And Kelly wasn’t the only Reading youngster who was out on loan at the time as Tarique Fosu was at Accrington Stanley and it was Fosu who Kelly spoke very highly of as one of the most talented players he has played with in his time at Reading.
“I’ve played with a lot of good players growing up in the youth team, we had a really good team. But I think if I had to pick one I’d say Tarique Fosu, me and him we always had a good friendship growing up and I think that showed on the pitch.
We linked up really well when we played together. We both enjoyed playing that Tika Taka football and we got the best out of each other.”
Kelly also spoke highly of the late former Reading academy manager, Eamonn Dolan who was described as one of the biggest influences for Kelly developing at Reading.
“I’ve had a lot of memories with Eamonn, he was always someone who I knew coming through the academy. He was one of the biggest influences growing up playing at Reading. There isn’t enough words to describe how much he has helped not only me, but all the lads that I grew up playing with and many more other as well.”
Kelly and his Reading team mates will be looking to kick on from the win against Sheffield Wednesday with a positive result at home to Leeds on Saturday evening where a win could see the Royals go above their opponents in the league table in the race for the play-offs.