TODAY marks the three year anniversary of Lloyd Kelly’s arrival at Cherries – with the defender believing he has “developed massively” this campaign.

Named captain ahead of the start of the season, Kelly has gone from strength to strength under Scott Parker.

A solid part of the defence that recorded the most cleansheets in the division and conceded the fewest goals, Kelly believes that apart from achieving promotion, it has been a successful season on a personal level.

Derailed by injuries after arriving from Bristol City ahead of the 2019/20 season, Kelly’s return to fitness coincided with Cherries relegation from the Premier League.

Whilst Kelly became a regular name on the teamsheet last season, he was unable to consolidate a specific position under Jason Tindall and Jonathan Woodgate, being deployed either at centre-back or as a full-back on the left.

Since the arrival of Parker, Kelly has become Cherries’ first choice centre-back, whilst being tasked with starting attacks for the side.

Reflecting on a season where he was named in the EFL’s team of the year for the Championship, Kelly said: “I’ve developed massively.

“Being named captain at the start of the season was good for me personally.

“I felt like I’ve developed a lot over the season, not just on the pitch but off the pitch as well I’ve been that leader.”

The selection of Kelly raised a few eyebrows from fans, with more experienced and longer serving players still at the club.

Even Kelly was taken aback briefly, before making the armband his own.

“It was a strange one (being named captain),” added the 23-year-old.

“We had Steve Cook at the Club and it was going into pre-season and I was acting as captain going into those pre-season friendlies.

“I knew the first game of the season was right around the corner.

“We went into that first game against West Brom at home and the captain’s armband was in my place. It’s stayed there ever since.”

Whilst Cook was frozen out of the picture at Cherries, incoming veteran Gary Cahill provided Kelly with further learning.

The Bristolian restarted: “We’ve brought in Gary Cahill who has helped the squad and helped me as well.

“I’ve learned a lot from him when we were playing together at centre-back. It was a great experience.”