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Reading boss compares Liam Kelly to Andres Iniesta

Liam Kelly of Reading and Oliver Norwood of Brighton in action

Liam Kelly has done enough to earn a flattering comparison from Jaap Stam.

Arsenal's Mohamed Elneny in action with Reading's Liam KellyReading's Liam Kelly in action with Arsenal's Mohamed Elneny

Reading manager Jaap Stam has done little to temper the hype surrounding midfielder Liam Kelly by comparing him to Andres Iniesta.

The Dutchman made the comments in a press conference and they have subsequently been reported by the Reading Chronicle.

“Of course, Iniesta has the experience and everything else, but if you look at the things Liam can do he certainly comes close to him,” Stam said.

“Liam has been outstanding for us. He can pass, he can move he can go past people and defensively he's aggressive. These are qualities that nowadays big teams like to have.”

Kelly has enjoyed a dramatic upturn in fortunes this season, having only made his league debut in October, and that was capped this week by a maiden Republic of Ireland call-up.

Liam Kelly of Reading and Oliver Norwood of Brighton in actionKelly is a diminutive figure much like Andres Iniesta

Although he may end up being hooked from the squad when Martin O’Neill cuts it down to 23 players, it’s testament to how well he’s played and going forward he would appear to be an ideal long-term replacement for Wes Hoolahan.

The 21-year-old has previously played for Ireland’s under-19 and under-21 sides, scoring a memorable wondergoal for the former against Sweden.

In all Kelly has made 19 more Championship appearances since that October debut, scoring once, and has become a key player in Stam’s side with his technical ability perfect for the passing football the manager wants to play.

He joined Reading as an eight-year-old and signed a new contract in December that will keep him at the Majeski Stadium until the summer of 2019.

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