RUSSIA 2018: World Cup | City players' group stage matches
It’s been an outstanding season for Fabian Delph.
Last summer, there were suggestions he should leave City, with Stoke mooted as a possible destination.
Fast forward 12 months and his decision to remain at the Etihad have been more than justified
In a record-breaking season for the Club, Delph was one of the biggest individual successes, with his seamless transition to left-back adding a surprising new dimension to his game. He was solid, reliable and full of energy, but also technically excellent and capable of bringing genuine attacking threat down City’s left-hand side. Few in City’s squad are better at carrying the ball and with his ability to move inside and add another body to City’s midfield when we attack down the right, he looks a perfect fit for Pep Guardiola’s system.
And it was those qualities uppermost in Gareth Southgate’s mind when he selected Delph in England’s 23-man squad for the World Cup in Russia this summer.
One of Delph’s finest assets is his ability to play in various roles with equal effectiveness. England, currently playing a 3-5-2 formation, can employ Delph at left wing-back or as a box-to-box midfielder. Indeed, that kind of flexibility is vitally important in tournament football.
Delph is hailed by many within the England camp as a key man off the field. Danny Rose, a long-term friend of Delph’s, told Sky Sports News this week that the City man is always available to give advice and is constantly demanding more from those around him. If players are slacking on the training field, Delph is the first to tell them.
Delph has 12 England caps over a four-year international career. He made his debut in a friendly against Norway in 2014, and a few days later he played the full 90 minutes of England’s Euro 2016 qualifier against Switzerland. He was named as part of the provisional squad for the Championships having played in six qualifying matches but eventually had to pull out due to a groin problem.
He came off the bench in England’s second game at this summer’s World Cup and he will be hoping to land himself a starting berth in Thursday’s final group game against Belgium.