Delph can surely expect more England call-ups

ENGLAND'S FABIAN DELPH (RIGHT) in action against Norway during the international friendly at Wembley Stadium in London.-AP ENGLAND'S FABIAN DELPH (RIGHT) in action against Norway during the international friendly at Wembley Stadium in London.

The 2008/9 campaign was Fabian Delph’s breakthrough season though, as he made 50 appearances and scored six goals, won the League One Young Player of the Year award and earned a nomination for the senior award too. By Thomas Pyman.

Aston Villa’s two years under the stewardship of Paul Lambert have been something of a roller-coaster. Finishing in 15th place in both campaigns, they have succeeded in avoiding relegation but will be hoping for a return to the top half of the table this season where they so regularly were found under Martin O'Neill.

Villa are developing something of a reputation for taking points off the top teams, having beaten Arsenal, Chelsea and eventual champions Manchester City last season, but have often struggled against the sides they are expected to beat.

Inconsistency has been their issue and thus the jury is still out on Lambert somewhat, but he certainly deserves credit for getting the best out of Fabian Delph, who appears to have put his past injury troubles behind him and is now emerging as one of the finest midfield players in the English Premier League.

The 24-year-old recently made his international debut from the bench against Norway at Wembley and followed it up with 90 minutes in the 2-0 win over Switzerland as England began their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign with a bang.

His first senior call-up was just reward for Delph’s consistency in a Villa shirt, as he is finally appearing to fulfil the promise he showed as a teenager at Leeds United.

Delph began his career at local side Bradford City but joined Leeds as an 11-year-old in 2001 after he was recommended to academy coach Greg Abbott by former Bradford boss Paul Jewell.

Not short of confidence in his own ability, he regularly told youth scouts to “remember my name”, before making his first-team debut as a substitute against Derby County in 2007.

The 2008/9 campaign was his breakthrough season though, as he made 50 appearances and scored six goals, won the League One Young Player of the Year award and earned a nomination for the senior award too.

His performances caught the eye of a number of Premier League clubs and it was ultimately Villa who won the race for his signature, paying around GBP8million for his services in 2009.

Delph made his Premier League bow against Wigan Athletic, before scoring his first goal for the club in an FA Cup win over Brighton and Hove Albion in January 2010, but suffered a serious knee injury just three months later which sidelined him until the following February.

Upon his return to fitness, Delph signed a new contract at Villa until 2015 but returned to Leeds on loan in search of regular football, only to see his progress again curtailed by injury, this time to his ankle.

In 2012, Lambert was appointed as the new manager at Villa Park and Delph finally began to get a run in the side, making 24 league appearances and impressing with his all-action displays in the middle of the park.

Delph’s development really began to accelerate after a stop-start few years, and a Man of the Match display in Villa’s shock opening-day win against Arsenal in 2013 epitomised his improvement.

He quickly became a fans’ favourite, winning three consecutive club Player of the Month awards in August, September and October.

His first Premier League goal came shortly after a 3-2 win over Southampton, before he scored the winner against Chelsea in March with an audacious back-heel.

Having impressed for the Three Lions in Basel, Delph can surely expect more England call-ups in the near future and Villa will be hoping they can keep hold of their star midfielder, with his contract expiring in the summer.

Delph suffered a cruciate ligament injury in 2010 which kept him out of action for 10 months. He is married to Natalie and the couple have a daughter, Sofia, who was born last year.

FACTFILE Name: Fabian Delph Position: Midfielder DOB: 21/11/1989 Club: Aston Villa International caps: 2 International goals: 0

Moment to remember: Making his senior England debut in a friendly against Norway.

Moment to forget: Being arrested for drink driving Leeds in 2008, leading to GBP1,400 fine and an month driving ban.

©PA Sport