Academy graduate ends 2016 by putting pen to paperReading Football Club are delighted to announce that young midfielder Liam Kelly has signed a new contract to commit his future to the Royals until the summer of 2019.
Kelly has been at the club since the age of eight, coming all the way through the Academy ranks to this season become the latest in a long line of players to break into the Reading first team.
Manager Jaap Stam said, "Liam has great ability in his passing, his movement, his technique and he has done very well ever since we arrived at the club. Liam has been at Reading from a very young age - a player who has come through the club's Academy to now playing regularly in the first team.
"His success is further testament to what the Academy here has achieved and he deserves this new contract for how he has done so far this season. Hopefully he can keep his performances up, continue to improve and we can get ourselves an even better player than he already is in the future."
Having ended the 2015-16 campaign on loan at Bath City in the National League South - where Liam scored several goals to help the Romans finish in 14th place - the midfielder’s vision and range of passing caught the eye of Jaap Stam as soon as he arrived at the club and he has flourished in blue and white hoops since.
The highly-rated Academy graduate made his professional debut for the Royals in August when he started in an EFL Cup encounter against MK Dons which ended in a penalty shootout win after a 2-2 scoreline at Madejski Stadium.
And the Republic of Ireland youth international, who turned 21 last month, went on to make his league bow in a win at Rotherham – the first of eleven appearances he has made for Jaap Stam’s side so far this season.
His first Madejski Stadium start came on Boxing Day when he delivered the free kick that allowed Yann Kermorgant to score our opening goal – and he also supplied the corner for Kermorgant’s second half header that led to a handball on the line and ultimately our second goal in the win over Norwich City.
And Kelly himself has proved he is more than capable of scoring the spectacular himself, notching a well-taken free-kick as part of a 5-0 win for the Royals in our first pre-season game of the summer.
Just under a fortnight ago he memorably struck a fierce right-footed effort that cannoned off the underside of the Blackburn Rovers crossbar – an attempt that led to Liam Moore chesting home the rebound and scoring a vital goal in the team’s win at Ewood Park.
Chief Executive Nigel Howe said, “I am delighted Liam has completed the paperwork on a new deal and committed his future to the club. He is yet another prime example of the success that our Category One Academy continues to achieve and a player like Liam perfectly represents the style of football we are cultivating throughout Reading Football Club. I am sure he will continue to improve and develop as a promising young midfielder who is playing an important role as a Royal this season.”