Kelly the right man for his country


I think Martin Kelly is fully deserving of his recent England call-up for the European championships in Poland and Ukraine.

England have suffered injury problems along their backline with Gary Cahill, Chris Smalling and Kyle Walker all being ruled out through injury.

Also, Hodgson has ruled out Rio Ferdinand stating that “footballing reasons” have kept the former captain out the squad. However, I think it’s well known that the reason behind Ferdinand’s exclusion is the on-going racism debate between Terry and Ferdinand’s brother, Anton.

Then a couple of players have refused to be called upon if they weren’t guaranteed a starting place. It is understood that Micah Richards turned down Hodgson’s idea of putting him on the reserve list, therefore giving Martin Kelly the chance to be called up.

Michael Carrick also adopted Richard’s idea of not wanting to be called upon if needed. I feel that this is disgraceful, not helping the country when it needs you.

It should be the greatest honour of your career, representing your country in a major international tournament. It’s ironic that both Richards and Carrick may well have played a big part in the tournament now due to the spate of injuries England have had to deal with. I think these players shouldn’t play for the national squad again after turning down a call-up.

Kelly has come in for a lot of critism by many claiming that he’s not good enough for the England squad. But how can you blame him?

Hodgson was left with no choice to pick him and if anyone is to blame it’s those that refused a call-up. All the young lad has done is put himself forward to play for his country, like any footballer should do.

But Kelly has impressed for Liverpool this season and deserves his place. The Whiston-born lad, who grew up in Newton-le-Willows, has been on Liverpool’s books since the age of seven. He overcame a serious back problem to graduate from the Academy and was promoted to Melwood by Rafa Benitez in 2007.

A loan spell at Huddersfield Town followed before in October 2009 he was handed his first start for Liverpool against Lyon in the Champions League at Anfield.

Kelly was man of the match but a groin injury picked up in that game side-lined him for four months and on his return to action there were just two substitute appearances.

Under Hodgson in 2010/11, he was a regular in the Europa League games and his progress was rewarded with a three-year contract extension.

However, it wasn’t until Kenny Dalglish took over that he finally enjoyed a sustained run in the side.

Johnson found himself shifted to left-back to accommodate the inclusion of Kelly on the opposite flank but a torn hamstring suffered at Upton Park in late February forced the promising youngster to sit out the rest of the campaign.

He embarked on a gruelling rehabilitation programme last summer, taking up yoga and bulking up in the gym in a bid to ensure his body was able to support his powerful 6ft 3ins frame.

Last season he made 19 starts in all competitions and scored his first goal for the club when he nodded home in the Carling Cup win at Chelsea.

Kelly won’t let anyone down in Poland and Ukraine. A steady performer who gets on with his job quietly and professionally. When I watch him play, I see a young Steve Finnan. Good defensively and a consistent performer, never letting the team or his team-mates down.

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