Reading head coach Jaap Stam has told Get Reading that he believes that Liam Kelly has many of the same qualities that Andres Iniesta has.
The 21-year-old midfielder has been one of the stories of the season for the Royals as he managed to break into the first team and become a key player for the club as they stage a push for promotion. This form has been noticed though as he was given his first ever call up to the Republic of Ireland squad this week, though injuries may stop him from getting him his first gap.
For Stam, seeing Kelly get all this praise and attention is no surprise as he has been very happy with how he has played over the last few weeks. He even decided to compare him to the Barcelona and Spain legend Andres Iniesta, saying that Kelly shares many of the same qualities that one of the best midfielders of all time has.
He said: “It’s not a bad name for Liam [to compare with]because he has certain qualities which Iniesta has.”
“Because Iniesta has the experience you can say he’s better at this point but Liam certainly comes close to him in what he can do and how he can play.”
“It’s not about him having the same quality as Iniesta and being at his level already. If they tried him at Barcelona and with the players around him he might do well as well.”
“It’s about adapting yourself to a system and you need an ability to do that. Liam has been outstanding for us.”
“He can pass, move, he can get past in a one v one, defensively he is aggressive and he presses the opposition going forward.”
“These are qualities that nowadays big teams like to have in their team – size now doesn’t always matter.”