Bristol City’s Lloyd Kelly is attracting interest from a number of Premier League club following an impressive breakthrough season in the Championship.
The 20-year-old established himself in the Robins’ left-back slot early on in the campaign, and while he featured with less regularity in the second half of the season, he seems destined for a successful career.
The defender made 32 Championship seasons this season as he helped City mount a serious play-off challenge, with Lee Johnson’s side falling just short of sixth-placed Derby County on the last day of the season.
Kelly’s performances have seen him linked with top-six clubs including Champions League finalists Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool according to Football Insider, but it is important he now carefully assesses his options before his next move.
While Kelly deserves all the plaudits he has received this season, he still has plenty of room for development before he can challenge for a starting spot at a Premier League side.
He provides a strong presence in defence and has a high level of confidence, but he is sometimes prone to an error at Championship level which he needs to eliminate before he makes the top-flight leap.
This is not to say that Kelly should reject a Premier League move, but he must ensure that he continues to develop his first-team experience next year and this could involve a loan spell.
The defender’s maturity at such a young age suggests he is firmly on course for a top-flight career, but his young age means this outcome should not be rushed into.
He should also take his time to assess his best position as he has regularly been used as a left-back, but his physicality suggests he could also thrive at the heart of the back-line.
Kelly would benefit most from another season at his current level where he can target nailing down a starting place in Johnson’s defence at Ashton Gate, while also establishing himself in England’s youth set-ups.
Regular football is of paramount importance at this stage of his career and he should bear this in mind when considering the allure of Premier League football next season.