Reading midfielder Liam Kelly produced a brilliant display in his side’s 2-0 FA Cup third round defeat against Manchester United at Old Trafford on Saturday, and his performance surely would have caught the attention of a number of clubs – Rangers should be one of them.
Well, Steven Gerrard will be keen to strengthen his squad this month to ensure that they fight Celtic all the way in the race to win the Scottish Premiership title this season, with their 1-0 Old Firm derby win prior to the winter break leaving them only behind their arch-rivals on goal difference at the top of the table.
The Liverpool legend has already moved quickly to add some experience and quality in the form of striker Jermain Defoe and midfielder Steven Davis, but with Ovie Ejaria returning to Liverpool for personal reasons and Lassana Coulibaly and Ross McCrorie not yet looking good enough to start on a regular basis, the 38-year-old may well be thinking about adding another new body alongside the Northern Ireland international in the centre.
The 23-year-old may not always have been a consistent performer for the Royals after coming through the club’s youth system, but he stepped up to the plate massively on the biggest stage against United on Saturday.
The Basingstoke-born player started in a defensive midfield role tasked with screening the visitors’ backline at ‘the Theatre of Dreams’, and he had a remarkable 116 touches of the ball – 20 more than anyone else on the pitch – throughout the encounter, according to WhoScored, as the Championship club imposed themselves on the fixture.
Kelly also produced 98 passes – with an accuracy of 91.8% – made one key pass and successfully completed eight of the 11 long balls he attempted, also making ten tackles and one interception.
Rangers may have Ryan Jack, but if Davis is to play in a deeper central midfield role with Scott Arfield behind the striker then he will need some legs and someone who isn’t afraid to put their foot in alongside him, and the 23-year-old Reading man looks to be the ideal candidate.
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