Kelly content to bide his time
Published 09/10/2013 | 17:51
Liverpool defender Martin Kelly admits he will have to be patient as he looks to find a way back into first-team reckoning after regaining full fitness.
The 23-year-old made a welcome return in last month's Capital One Cup defeat at Manchester United, almost exactly a year after being sidelined by a cruciate knee injury.
He suffered a minor setback after that game but insists he is now recovered and awaiting his opportunity.
"You have to have a lot of patience in football as well as knowing when you are given your chance you have to take it," he said.
"It has taken a long time to get back to full fitness. I feel really strong physically now and I am biding my time to get my chance and grab it with both hands.
"It has taught me to look after myself in terms of what my body needs to cope with demands of the Premier League and over the past 12 months (I've been) getting myself to a physical condition which will cater for that and I'm raring to go to get that chance."
Kelly has had a couple of outings for the under-21s to help him get up to speed and that has been beneficial.
"From a development (point of view) and confidence in terms of my knee it has been fantastic," he added.
"It is much more difficult playing in the Premier League and Capital One Cup than reserve team level.
"I've done those few games as a physical aspect and I'm glad they've had me. It has been vital for my rehab.
"It felt good to be back. It was long-awaited. I was not rushed into coming back by the manager.
"He was always saying I had to be confident and the injury I had does knock your confidence but I'm past that barrier now and ready to push on."
Fellow defender Martin Skrtel had a similar problem in not being in the side for most of the second half of last season but that was down to form rather than injury.
However, he has started the last five matches and has impressed, with the Reds' new-look back-three bolstered by the gradual improvement of summer signing Mamadou Sakho from Paris St Germain.
"He is still young but he's an experienced player. He's a French international and he's played many games for PSG," Skrtel told LFC TV.
"In the games he has started he has shown how good he is, he's fitted into the team well and he's doing well at the moment.
"I'm happy for him and happy for the team because he is a good player for us. I just hope things carry on this way."