By Rich Dore
A club debut, a breakthrough into the first team, six England Under-20 appearances – and yet still no goal GIF.
Bristol City’s Lloyd Kelly has so far enjoyed 2018 but is still waiting to have his shot at becoming a social media sensation by featuring in one of the Robins’ famed celebration graphics.
Not that he’ll mind. At the end of last season, boss Lee Johnson earmarked the 19-year-old as a future first-team starter – and so it has transpired, with the young full-back’s debut arriving in the 5-0 Carabao Cup romp against Plymouth in August.
Kelly’s first league start followed two days before Christmas in the 1-1 draw at QPR, and his Boxing Day gift was a first club goal registered in a 2-0 win over Reading – but he still wants more.
“I’ve still not got a goal GIF!” said Bristol-born Kelly. “I’ve just got the standard celebration, which I’ve been getting absolutely slated for! Next season, I’ll have to get that sorted.
“You have to go to the media team and they do it. The boys are always getting their ones sorted and they’ll come in with all these props and all sorts!
“I’m not sure what I want to get yet, so I’ll have to think of something this summer.
“My football’s going really well at the moment, though – it’s been really good. I get along with Lee (Johnson) really well and he’s a good manager. When he came in, he let us all know he was interested in younger players.
“He’s developed me over the last season or two and now he’s given me my chance – and I’ve taken it.
“The run of results hasn’t been as good as we wanted recently, but we’ll put it in during the last few games and make sure we get results over performance.”
And, while it’s been a dream season for Kelly, it’s also been a pretty good one for the Robins.
After finishing 17th in the Championship last season, Johnson has had his side battling at the top end of the table for much of the season, though they had slipped back to 11th pre-weekend.
They did, of course, also reach the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup, dismissing Manchester United along the way.
It’s a good time to be associated with the Robins and Kelly is delighted to be plying his trade in the city where he grew up.
“It means a lot to me, playing for my local club,” said Kelly. “I looked up to some of the boys when I was younger, and two or three years later I’m playing with some of them.
“Quite a few of my family are Bristol City supporters, so it’s brilliant that sometimes I can bring them to the games. They get quite into it, so it’s nice to see for me.”
Kelly has impressed in City colours but has also featured for England’s Under-20s this season.
The teenager has made six appearances for Keith Downing’s Young Lions, making his debut as a substitute in a 3-0 win over the Netherlands in August. It was one of his proudest moments in football.
“I didn’t really have a clue that the England call-up was coming,” the left-back added. “I don’t think about too much other than, on a daily basis, making sure I’m spot-on with training and things like that. If something good happens, then it happens.
“It was a whole heap of emotions, really. It was a proud moment and I gained a lot of confidence after that debut.
“Some of my family came down, which was quite nice, and my agent as well.
“It was a proper proud moment standing in the line and singing the national anthem – just a really great feeling.”