Kelly happy to play centre-back for Liverpool

The 23-year-old believes he has all the attributes to succeed at the heart of the defence against Premier League opposition, and wants to learn from his experienced team-mates

Liverpool defender Martin Kelly says he would be delighted to play centre-back if asked by manager Brendan Rodgers.

The 23-year-old has mostly featured at right-back for the Merseyside club since making his debut in a UEFA Champions League clash with PSV Eindhoven in December 2008.

But, having noticeably bulked up during his time out with a cruciate knee ligament injury, the defender has underlined his desire to take on a central role.

“It’s always ideal being able to play in two positions,” he told The Liverpool Echo. “I love playing right-back but if it came to it I could definitely be a centre-back.

“I feel like I’ve got all the attributes. All the positional sense was drummed into me when I played there when I was a kid.

“The last time I played in the middle was for England Under-21s but that’s not the same as playing there at club level where it’s much faster. Before that it was just with the academy.

“It would take time for me to become a Premier League centre-back but I can learn from the experienced defenders we’ve got here.”

Kelly went on thank his team-mates for their support during his nine-month lay-off, which began when he ruptured the knee ligament during a clash with Manchester United at Anfield.

“Even when I was out, all the  lads made sure I still felt part of the team,” he continued.

“I came in to do my work at the  same time as them so I was with them before they went out to train. I was still involved in all the meetings and that was good mentally for me.

“It was great to have Lucas around to talk to. When I’d say my tendon was aching he would reassure me that was normal.

“He was a big support but his rehab was different to mine. His cruciate was done by a tackle, mine was done by being off balance. He was back within six months but my rehab took longer because I’m a different type of player to Lucas.

“The surgeon made it clear that I could only go back into training when I felt like I not only had the strength but also the balance work to go with it otherwise I could go over on it again.

“I’m the type of person who takes that bit longer to heal. I did a lot of work in the gym on my strength, core and balance.

“Then I stepped things up gradually by doing a few sessions with the Under-18s and then the Under-21s before training with the lads at Melwood.”

Kelly has made 54 appearances for Liverpool in total and has one senior England cap.

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