The Royals have sewn up a new deal for another key first team star of last season! We 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 2020.
Just over a year ago, Kelly was reflecting on the completion of a successful season on loan at Bath City in the National League South, but the midfielder’s ability was quickly identified by Royals manager Jaap Stam last summer and his breakthrough season last year largely spoke for itself.
This will be the third contract he has signed in little more than the last 12 months, representing the high esteem in which he is held by the club, his manager and the coaching staff at Reading.
The 21-year-old playmaker has been at Reading since the age of eight, playing his way through our Category One ranks to make his first team debut for the Royals last August when he started in our EFL Cup win over MK Dons at Madejski Stadium.
The Republic of Ireland youth international went on to make his league debut in a win at Rotherham and, after signing a new and improved contract at the end of the calendar year, he toasted his new deal with his first professional goal – scoring at Ashton Gate to trigger a thrilling 3-2 comeback win against Bristol City at the start of January.
Becoming a regular member of the first team squad, Kelly made 25(+9) appearances in Reading colours last season – playing at the Emirates in the EFL Cup, at Old Trafford in the FA Cup and at Wembley in the Play-Off Final.
And his final say at the end of an astonishing breakthrough season at the club came when he fired home from the spot in the tense penalty shootout against Huddersfield Town with a cool, assured finish that belied his age and experience.
Kelly’s new contract is the fifth the Royals have finalised in the last 48 hours; Jaap Stam, Andries Ulderink and Said Bakkati committed to the club until 2019 on Tuesday afternoon, yesterday Chris Gunter promised the next three years of his playing career to Reading…and now Liam has added an additional year to the length of his stay at Madejski Stadium.
Chief Executive Nigel Howe said, “Securing the services of the best players at our club remains a high priority and Liam Kelly is an extremely exciting young midfielder with proven ability and tremendous potential for the future.
“He took first team football in his stride last season and Liam certainly deserves this new contract. I am confident he will become an even better player as his career continues to develop and I’m delighted that development will play out in blue and white hoops.”
Director of Football Brian Tevreden said, "Developing our own players is exactly what we want to achieve at the club and Liam Kelly is a fine example. He came through the ranks here, broke into the first team last season, we gave him a new contract at the end of December and he went on to do very, very well.
"Liam is an outstanding player. He was a key part of the first team squad last season - he gave us everything and we wanted to give him something back. So the manager, myself, everyone within the club is pleased to see him sign this new deal."