Martin Kelly hopes to follow Jon Flanagan's lead into the first team

After recovering from a long-term injury, Kelly hopes to emulate fellow academy graduate Jon Flanagan and nail down a first team place.

Liverpool defender Martin Kelly is hoping to take some inspiration from team-mate Jon Flanagan as he recovers from injury.

Kelly has looked a solid defender whenever he's been part of the Liverpool team. After being given his debut by Rafa Benitez, all three managers since in Roy Hodgson, Kenny Dalglish and Brendan Rodgers have used Kelly a lot but injuries have prevented him from becoming a regular in the side. 

His talent was recognised two years ago as he was part of Hodgson's squad for Euro 2012 but a serious knee injury since then has kept him out of the side. 

In an interview with the Liverpool Echo, Kelly praised Flanagan for his work in becoming a regular in the Liverpool first-team last season when it seemed as though his chances were limited, and he hopes that by sticking around in the same way as the 21-year-old, he will eventually reap the rewards.

He said: “This pre-season is a massive opportunity for someone like myself. My ability hasn't gone, it's fitness what I need. There is no better chance than pre-season to get those games.

“I've not had a conversation with the manager about my future yet. I've just concentrating on my own game and trying to take every opportunity that I'm given.

“Look at what happened with Flanno last season. Massive credit to him for sticking in there and waiting for his chance. He was given it and took it in his stride.

“He's been a breath of fresh air for the side and hats off to him. He's one of my close friends in the team and I'm made up for him.”

Kelly is likely to face more competition with reports linking Javier Manquillo with a move to Anfield from Atletico Madrid but the 24-year-old seems prepared to fight for his place, even though there are reports that other Premier League clubs are interested in Kelly.

What people have seen from Kelly is the potential to develop into an accomplished defender, now he just needs luck with injuries to be on his side.

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