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Tuesday 28 January 2020

Former Ireland under-21 star Liam Kelly set to seal move away from Feyenoord

Former Ireland Under-21 international Liam Kelly
Former Ireland Under-21 international Liam Kelly
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Liam Kelly's brief spell at Feyenoord is set to come to an end this month, with the former Republic of Ireland under-21 midfielder a transfer target for several teams including League One side Sunderland.

Kelly left for Holland last summer as he secured a move to Feyenoord to work alongside his former mentor Jaap Stam, who had been his manager as he broke into the Reading first team.

Yet Stam's exit as Feyenoord boss in late-October was a hammer blow to Kelly's hopes of securing a regular spot in their first team, with new boss Dick Advocaat conducting all his coaching sessions in Dutch and showing little interest in picking Kelly.

Now the 24-year-old playmaker has a big decision to make as he looks to secure a loan move, with League One promotion chasers Oxford and Sunderland joining MK Dons on the list of clubs keen to sign him.

Sources close to the player have told Independent.ie that the money on offer during a loan deal is secondary of importance to the amount of game time Kelly will get until the end of this season, when he will look to secure a permanent move away from Feyenoord.

Kelly retains hope of breaking into the senior Ireland team, despite former manager Martin O'Neill making public claims that the midfielder was keen to pursue an international career with England.

A senior Reading official is believed to have informed the FAI that Kelly was "keeping his options open" as he was interested in an England call-up, but that was swiftly rebuffed by the player.

"It had nothing to do with feeling English or Irish, it was a personal thing between me and my family which we thought was best," Kelly stated, after he pulled out of an Ireland squad in March 2018 with an ankle injury.

"There are no ifs and buts about it, it was just how I was feeling at the time. We will see how it goes in the future."

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