Charlie Kelman’s long wait on the sidelines is over.
The 18-year-old Southend United forward returned on Tuesday and scored a consolation penalty kick in a 3-1 Under-23 loss to MK Dons. It was Kelman’s first appearance since suffering an ankle injury in late September, one that has caused him to miss over two months of first-team action.
Kelman came on in the 55th minute and played the rest of Tuesday’s U-23 match injury free. Prior to the injury, Kelman scored three goals in all competitions for the Shrimpers, who are currently 22nd in the 23-team EFL League One.
Although it was a reserve game, Kelman did receive praise on his return from U-23 head coach Craig Fagan postmatch.
“Charlie’s enthusiasm to play can never be questioned and he seemed more like a mature first team player coming back rather than a young 18-year-old,” Fagan said. “He showed a great attitude and got his goal which was pleasing.”
“Charlie did well where it was a concern coming in so we will need to see more of it.”
Kelman received his first-ever call up to the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team this past September. With Southend struggling for results in league play and the U-23’s now off until January, Kelman could be returning to first-team training sooner than expected.
Southend continues a busy holiday period with matches against Bolton Wanderers on Dec. 21st and MK Dons on Dec. 26th.