Fabian Delph’s decision to renew his contract with Aston Villa shows that perhaps loyalty isn’t dead in English football after all, writes Sarah Fitzpatrick
Aston Villa signed Spanish attacking midfielder Carles Gil this month from Valencia but made their biggest coup this month by tying down talented midfielder Fabian Delph on a new contract. The midfielder seemed destined to leave Villa Park either this month for a small fee of £4m or for free in the summer as clubs such as Tottenham, Everton and Liverpool were keen on the England international.
Delph even mentioned that his own teammates were shocked that he agreed a deal to stay at Villa but he explained that his loyalty to his teammates was an important factor in his decision to sign the new deal as he stated;
“They see a lot in me and how dedicated I am and how I want to push on. They’re delighted to keep someone like me here. I see them as family, brothers and I would run through a brick wall for them”.
If you look back at all of the highs and lows of Delph’s career at Villa, it isn’t too surprising that he feels as though he owes Villa for their constant support and commitment to him during the lowest points of his career and the progress he has made in the last two years.
Delph was a youth player for Bradford for a short while before being snapped up by Leeds when he was only 11 years old. The midfielder progressed through the ranks at Leeds and was made captain of Leeds reserves before breaking into their first team. Delph only made 45 appearances for Leeds in League One and one appearance in the Championship before Aston Villa swooped in and signed the talented youngster for £6m in 2009.
Delph made his Premier League debut in a 2-0 defeat to Wigan on the 15th of August 2009 and scored his first goal for Villa in an FA Cup tie against Brighton on the 23rd of January 2010.
Delph began to show promise at Villa in 2010 but had to be taken out of a training session on a stretcher on the 17th of April 2010 after suffering a cruciate ligament injury which kept him out for a whopping eight months. Villa’s medical staff put their full effort in making sure that Delph would make a full recovery and return a stronger player which led to him making his Villa return on the 26th of February 2011 in a game against Blackburn and was then offered a new four year contract in the 3rd of March 2011.
Villa believed that sending Delph out on loan would help him gain experience and he went back to Leeds on the 20th of January 2012 but unfortunately for the midfielder he suffered a serious ankle injury in a game against Coventry City that would keep him out for the rest of the 11/12 season. Delph returned to Villa and the medical staff at the club once again made sure that the midfielder would make a full recovery.
Fabian Delph returned to the Villa squad in time for the 12/13 season and quickly progressed enough to become a fan favourite as he made 24 appearances in the league in the 12/13 season as Villa finished 15th in the Premier League. Delph improved further in the 13/14 season as he made 34 appearances and scored three goals in the Premier League. An outstanding performance in Villa’s 3-1 win over Arsenal seemed to give the midfielder plenty of momentum and his consistency led to him being voted Villa’s player of the month in August, September and October 2013.
Delph scored an fantastic goal in Villa’s 3-2 win over Southampton on the 4th of December 2013 and he continued to progress throughout the rest of the season and shone as one of Villa’s most important players. Villa finished 15th again in the 13/14 Premier League season and Fabian Delph was voted Villa player of the year for the 13/14 season by Aston Villa fans.
Fabian Delph quickly went from injury prone midfielder to Villa hero in two years due to his dedication and hard work but many of the plaudits should also go to Aston Villa who gave the player the support and commitment he needed from the club to make full recoveries from his serious knee and ankle injuries.
All of this hard work from Villa and Fabian Delph led to the talented midfielder being called up to the senior England squad on the 28th of August 2014.He made his international debut as a 69th minute substitute in a friendly against Norway and then made his full international debut in a European Qualifier against Switzerland.
After Fabian Delph’s call up to the England squad, the media began to speculate that he would have to move to a bigger club. Delph began the 14/15 season with Villa but was dealt a huge blow when he dislocated his shoulder in training in October and was out of action for two months.
Villa again showed Delph support and made sure he had the best rehabilitation for his injury which led to him returning to action for Villa once again. This consistent support and commitment that Delph has received from everyone in and around Aston Villa football club seems to be the biggest factor in him deciding to commit his future to the club as he explained,
“I am a loyal person and committing my future will show everybody what type of guy I am. I love the club. I love being here.”
Villa boss Paul Lambert has applauded Fabian Delph for his commitment and stated that the midfielder has everything needed for him to become captain of Aston Villa in the future as he explained,
“Fabian will be a big driving force for this club for the next few years. He is a captain in the making and has that personality and a driving force as well as a hunger to succeed.”