Thursday 14 August 2014
Martin Kelly is relishing the prospect of playing in front of the “incredible” fans at Selhurst Park after completing his transfer from Liverpool to Crystal Palace on a three-year deal.
The 24-year-old right-back was at Selhurst Park to witness Palace come from 3-0 down to draw 3-3 in the penultimate matchweek of the 2013/14 Barclays Premier League campaign, and likened it to the atmosphere created in UEFA Champions League matches at Liverpool’s Anfield stadium.
"I remember coming here with Liverpool at the back end of last season for the 3-3 draw and the fans were incredible”, Kelly said after joining Palace for an undisclosed fee. "That was one of the only stadiums I've come to where it felt like Liverpool fans the way they got behind the team on Champions League nights.
"The fans are massive are massive at any club - they were brilliant at Liverpool - and they seem brilliant here.
Kelly was born in Merseyside and joined Liverpool’s academy at seven. He made his first-team debut in 2009 in a UEFA Champions League tie and, after a loan spell at Huddersfield Town, made 43 appearances for the Reds in the 2010/11 and 2011/12 seasons.
After winning his first senior cap for England in May 2012, he was selected for Roy Hodgson’s UEFA Euro 2012 squad. Injuries restricted him to 15 appearances in the following two seasons at Anfield, and he is “over the moon” at the prospect of regular football at Palace.
"I'd heard about a potential move at the start of the summer, but I just wanted to concentrate on playing again in pre-season," he said. "I played a lot of games, which is what I needed. I've been out, fit, but not playing competitively all of last season.
"Now is the time at that age where I need to get back to playing week-in week-out. I'm looking forward to playing regular football again.”
Kelly is Palace’s fourth summer signing, after Chris Kettings, Fraizer Campbell and Brede Hangeland, and could make his debut for the club when they visit Arsenal in their opening match of the 2014/15 Barclays Premier League campaign on Saturday 16 August.