NOT many Sky Bet Championship clubs could sell a player to the Premier League – and then promote a replacement from within their ranks who turns out to be even better.
But that could end up being the case at Bristol City, where Lloyd Kelly is being tipped by many to become even better than the player he has effectively replaced: Joe Bryan.
Kelly – who is five years younger than Bryan – still has some way to go, of course, with Bryan appearing in Fulham’s opening three Premier League matches of the season and producing some mature displays at left-back.
Both players have bright futures – but Rayan Wilson, the performance coach, founder and owner of Bristol-based sports consultancy Back2Action, believes Kelly could end up playing for England.
Wilson has worked closely with both players and has nothing but good things to say about each of them.
And he sees Kelly, who started for England Under-20s in their 2-0 win over Switzerland last week, as ending up at a “top four or top six” club in the Premier League and breaking into the senior England team.
If that happens, he feels much of it will be down to how he is acquitting himself – and being managed – at Bristol City.
“The one who told me about Lloyd was Joe Bryan,” Wilson said in episode four of the ROAR Sport Podcast.
“I knew Lloyd when he was knee-high. I’ve known his family – he’s from the same community as me – however Joe and Bobby [Reid] brought him to my attention and said: ‘Ray, have you heard of this kid? He is phenomenal’.
“Joe had actually said: ‘If I can’t progress my career in the right way soon, I might end up being held back by Lloyd, because he’s that good.’
“I believe Lloyd is going to learn a lot from his current manager [Lee Johnson], and I do believe he is in the right place to be able to push on and be a top, top footballer.
“I believe he will go on to possibly represent England. I’ve said it and I will happily put it out there, because that’s how good I believe him to be.
“I do believe he will be one of these players you will see featuring at one of the top four, top six, Premier League sides.
“And it will be a testament to what happens in his early stages, as in now: what he does at the club and how he progresses and how he learns game by game by game, and how he attacks training day by day by day.
“But he has got the attitude to go on and do it – and he really, really wants to do it, which in football is just a breath of fresh air.”
On Bryan himself, Wilson feels he will become a “very, very dominant” force in the Premier League after a “solid” start to life in the top flight.
“I’m so happy for him, going to Fulham,” he said. “He has really worked hard.
“Every kid’s dream is to play in the Premier League but it’s not just about playing in the Premier League, it’s about being in the right club that suits you to play in the Premier League.
“Joe, I believe, has that, and he has gone in and had some solid performances. Over time, he can get better, and over time he will grow and grow with experience, and will become very, very dominant in that Fulham side and in the Premier League. I think we will see Joe grow as the season grows.”
In the podcast, which is available on Apple Podcasts and Soundcloud, Wilson also discussed the start Bobby Reid has made to life in the Premier League, as well as Yannick Bolasie’s move to link up with Albert Adomah at Aston Villa, and the work he has done with Nacer Chadli, who recently signed for Monaco.