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Bournemouth Defender Lloyd Kelly's Story Is One Of The Most Inspiring In English Football

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Bournemouth Defender Lloyd Kelly's Story Is One Of The Most Inspiring In English Football

Bournemouth defender Lloyd Kelly has opened up about spending time in foster care growing up.

At the age of just seven, Kelly, along with his sister Mary and brother Marcus, was placed into foster care.

He would go on to spend 11 years in the system and only left four years ago when he was making waves as a youngster at Bristol City.

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He lived in three different foster homes as a youngster and has not seen his mother, Anna, for seven years. He's still weighing up whether to get back in touch.

But Kelly, now 22, has not let his his less than ideal upbringing affect him. Having left school with 10 GCSEs, he has gone on to captain England at Under 20's level, play in the Premier League with Bournemouth, turn out for England Under 21's and even train with the senior Three Lions squad.

Image: PA
Image: PA

"It wasn't easy. Being taken away from your mum, once that happens you have to grow up quickly," Kelly reflected in an honest interview with BBC Sport.

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"I was such a young age I didn't know what was happening," he says. It was not until I was older that I realised what was going on and the reasons behind it.

"You hear cases where some homes are not able to take three children and they are split up.

"Fortunately the three of us stayed together and we're really close although it has affected us in different ways.

"We moved to three different places throughout the years, different families for three or four years each. I believe those experiences have given me a better outlook on life."

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Kelly has been capped eight times for England Under 21's and his last foster carer, Thelma, was there in person to see him play at European Under-21 Championship in 2019 two years back.

He remains in touch and is hoping she can see him in action for the Cherries in the near future.

Image: PA
Image: PA

"What she did for the three of us is extraordinary," Kelly added.

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"She took us in, treated us as her own and still does. She has a son and daughter who are grown up and we see them as family as well.

"When I was at Bristol City, Thelma came to every game she could with her son and daughter. They were there to support me.

"I'll invite her down for a match when it's safe to do so. We have a really good connection.

"I've seen first hand how the foster care system works and there are many positives about it."

Topics: Bristol City, Football, bournemouth

Josh Lawless
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