Liam Kelly has not closed the door entirely on playing for the Republic of Ireland in the future and said his decision to pull out of Martin O’Neill’s squad last month was simply down to “how I was feeling at the time”.
O’Neill revealed that Reading’s England-born 22-year-old midfielder decided to leave the squad in the run-up to the friendly against Turkey to keep his international options open.
Kelly most likely would have played in Antalya and his withdrawal was a major surprise.
“You might want to ask about Liam Kelly, who I think wants to keep his options open at this minute,” O’Neill said at the time.
“Obviously he’s born in England and wants to keep those options open and that’s fine. What did I do? I did actually leave a message or two and he got back to me by text.
“I’ve always said here that it’s the player’s choice. It’s exactly what it is and if he wants to think that England might come in, that’s entirely his decision.”
GOAL | Was there ever any doubt this would go in?
An emphatic penalty from @L_Kelly95 saw the Royals take the lead yesterday!
— Reading FC (@ReadingFC) April 15, 2018
Kelly scored a penalty in the Royals’ 2-2 draw with Sunderland at the weekend and afterwards broke his silence on his international future, the Reading Chronicle report.
“It was a personal reason, it was nothing against the Republic of Ireland,” he said.
“It had nothing to do about feeling English or Irish, it was a personal thing between me and my family which we thought was best.
“There’s no ifs and buts about it, it was just how I was feeling at the time.”
On whether he could potentially pull on the green shirt at some point in the future, he added: “We’ll see how it goes.”
Reading are 19th in the Championship, five points clear of the drop zone with three games to play.