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Sweet 16 for Kelly

Posted on 23 March 2004  - 12:00

Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) Football Club is located in North London. The club is also known as Spurs. Tottenham's home ground is White Hart Lane. The club motto is Audere est Facere (To dare is to do).

Stephen Kelly suspects a successful sojourn with the Republic of Ireland under-21 side has helped him in getting back into the 16 for our last two games.

The 20-year-old, who made his senior debut for the club against Charlton at the end of December in place of the suspended Stephen Carr, captained the Ireland side - including Spurs teammate Mark Yeates - to victory in the Madeira Tournament at the end of February. He marshalled a defence that did not concede a goal in three games as Ireland drew with Portugal, beat Italy 1-0 before securing the competition with a 4-0 victory over Madeira.

"I went out there with the under-21s for the Madeira Tournament against Portugal, Italy and Madeira - and we ended up winning it," recalled Stephen. "We beat Madeira and Italy, drew with Portugal and it was enough to win it.

"I think it is the first time the under-21s have won a tournament and it was great to be part of that. There is a lot of talent, but we are more of a team and most of us have played together since the age of 16."

Stephen hopes that Chris Hughton's inside track with the Republic sees to it that good performances for his country catch the attention of David Pleat.

"I've got onto the bench for the last two games in it has been great for me. I was captain of the under-21s, we did well and, with Chrissie being involved with Ireland, he gets all the inside information from the tournament. Hopefully it was good feedback and that is why I've been back in the squad," he added, admitting that he did fear his first team involvement might be limited with a fit squad at the moment.

"It's hard, a lot of players are fit now and, obviously, Stephen Carr is playing well. We have a lot of experienced professionals who are bound to be ahead of you, so it is nice be back involved."

Never the temptation to give the aforementioned Carr a little kick in training then?

"I'm sure he'd kick me first but, no, I wouldn't do that!"