Having completed his first 90 minutes of football since January in the post-season friendly at Shamrock Rovers, Martin Kelly looked back on five months of frustration and set-backs with a typically philosophical approach.

As he reflected on a lack of game time, the youngster showcased the sort of attitude that had, moments earlier, moved Brendan Rodgers to praise his determination from within the same tunnel at Dublin's Aviva Stadium.

Kelly, at centre-half, had thwarted the Irish opponents for the entire match in the Reds' end-of-season run-out, venturing forward to claim the third goal of a comfortable 4-0 rout.

Post-match, as the season drew to a close, his manager looked forward to a fresh campaign with further challenges and added opportunities for Kelly to make a return to the side.

The defender echoed Rodgers' comments when he spoke to Liverpoolfc.com shortly after, insisting time on the sidelines has not dented his confidence and drive to succeed at Anfield.

"The last few months have been difficult," admitted the 24-year-old. "It was about being able to understand that you can't play in games when we're playing one game a week.

"But it's definitely strengthened my character. I've just kept my head down and I've been trying to do extra work after training and in the gym.

"The chance has not arrived this season, but I know I have three years left on my contract and that the chance will come. The manager was trying to win the league and he couldn't introduce me when I wasn't match fit. So it was difficult.

"As a football player from the age of seven, training through the week and having the game at the end of the week, that's all you want to do - play football. So it was frustrating, but I've come through that now and I'm looking forward to playing games next season.

"I think everyone's ready for a break, but I'm ready to hit the ground running. I'll have a week or two off and then get back at it."

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