Editorials — July 13, 2011 12:50

Martin Kelly Gives Hope To Aspiring Footballers Everywhere

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Martin Kelly spoke to Kick It Out as part of their “One Game, One Community” week.

The 21-year-old defender gives hope to aspiring footballers everywhere as he speaks on honing his skills the local playing field, the multi-cultured city of Liverpool and bouncing back from his injuries.

Since Kenny Dalglish took over from Roy Hodgson, Kelly has been the first choice right back for the Merseyside club.

To Kelly, it only seems like yesterday that he was honing his skills at the local recreation field. “When I was young I used to practise lots with my dad at the park,” the 21-year-old recalls. It’s this grass roots grounding from his father to which Kelly attributes the focus he has managed to maintain since stamping his initial mark on the first team. “He’s always drummed it into me to stay focused on football, and to not let other things sidetrack me. You have to do that if you want to become a top footballer.”

Acting as the Liverpool’s One Game, One Community ambassador for Kick It Out, football’s equality and inclusion campaign, this season, Kelly has been reflecting on what he learnt about the game during his childhood, and what is required to make it to the very top. “Firstly, you’ve got to enjoy what you do, and secondly, you’ve got to practise every day. Even when you might be tired, or a bit bored of it, you still need practise. You obviously need to have some talent, but most important is to keep working at it, as it will help you develop through the ranks.”

Kelly also reflected on the the multi-cultural set-up of the squad. “We have to work together on the pitch so it should be no different off it. Being at an English club, I suppose it’s important to stick to the English language and the culture here, but you do learn a lot from the foreign lads in the changing rooms about their backgrounds, cultures and how that differs to over here.”

Having suffered from a couple of hamstring-related injuries in the past six months, there is one particular discipline adopted from foreign shores which has helped Kelly on his return to match fitness. “I’ve been doing some yoga,” he admitted. “It was introduced on one of my rehab programmes. It’s about keeping supple and helping you to stretch more. It’s like long stretching really so it’s a similar idea to when we warm up and warm down. Yoga is obviously more focused and it is definitely helping me at the moment.”

A special thanks to Kick It Out. Please check out their website and follow them on twitter.


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