Kelly injured the anterior cruciate ligament of her right knee in May last year and the 24-year-old was so distraught she couldn’t face watching her team-mates play at that summer’s Olympics.
The winger has since made a full recovery and, after coming off the bench in England’s opening two games of Euro 2022, is due to start tomorrow against Northern Ireland.
Kelly insists she is tougher for her injury nightmare, which has enabled her to become a fearless competitor.
“The start [of my recovery] was the toughest because you know what’s ahead and the pain you are in obviously after the surgery,” said Kelly. “You lose everything, like just being able to walk, to go to the toilet by yourself, things like that. It’s not nice. But then the end is where you feel ready, but then you are not quite ready.
“I didn’t actually watch any of the Olympics because I couldn’t actually face watching it. Now I’m here, I enjoy every moment of being with the team. I’ve got a completely different look on things and a different mentality.
“Whereas before I’d get quite nervous before games, but now when I speak to my family and they ask if I’m nervous, I don’t really have those nerves as I did before because I’m thinking: ‘What’s the worst that can happen?’
“I’ve been through the worst of anything that has happened to me so far and I have to enjoy every moment, playing with no fear.”