Tuesday 23 October 2018

'It had nothing to do about feeling English or Irish' - Reading midfielder Liam Kelly breaks silence

Liam Kelly in action with Ireland’s U-19s in 2013
Liam Kelly in action with Ireland’s U-19s in 2013
Ger Keville

Ger Keville

Reading midfielder Liam Kelly has confirmed he is still open to an international career with Ireland despite refusing to join up with Martin O'Neill's squad for last month's friendly against Turkey.

There was much confusion following the Reading man's decision not to take up O'Neill's offer to join up with the squad for the 1-0 defeat in Antalya with the Ireland boss suggesting Kelly had his eye on an England call up.

"Liam Kelly, I think, wants to keep his options open at this minute. Obviously, he's born in England and wants to keep those options open and that's fine," said O’Neill at the time.

But, as exclusively reported by Independent.ie, Kelly's decision not to accept O'Neill's invitation was for personal reasons.  

The Ireland Under-19 and Under-21 international bagged his seventh goal of the season in Reading's 2-2 draw with Sunderland at the weekend and afterwards confirmed an international career with Ireland is still very much on the cards.

"It was a personal reason, it was nothing against Republic of Ireland," Kelly said.

"It had nothing to do about feeling English or Irish, it was a personal thing between me and my family which we thought was best.

"There's no ifs and buts about it, it was just how I was feeling at the time."

Independent.ie understands that O'Neill is keen to clear up the confusion surrounding the talented midfielder.

For now, Kelly is focused on keeping his club Reading in the Championship.

"It's not the position we want to be in but we're good enough to stay up," he said.

"I'm not worried about getting relegated. With the squad we have I think we'll be fine."

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