Despite suffering considerable injury problems with both club and country since his £8 million summer move from Aston Villa to Manchester City, Fabian Delph is beginning to play a key role in the league leaders’ engine room.
After starting in Turin against Juventus, the midfielder played a pivotal role in midfield and scored his first Citizens goal during a 3-1 win at home against Southampton last weekend. Whisper it quietly, but Delph may be set for a long and productive run in the side.
Can Delph provide the X-Factor for Manchester City?
The England star enjoyed a stellar first half in particular at the Etihad, playing with incredible dynamism and driving forward with tremendous energy.
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A raking shot fired City into a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes and while Delph tired in the second half, he did more than enough to justify selection for their next league outing.
Above all else, however, Delph is showcasing the type of form and dynamism that may provide a solution to City’s ongoing midfield conundrum.
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While Yaya Toure remains capable of occasional attacking brilliance, he often appears lethargic and even disinterested at times. In contrast, midfielders Fernando and Fernandinho are willing runners but extremely limited in their attacking capabilities.
This has created a huge imbalance and lack of drive in the Citizens’ midfield, which was brutally exposed by a youthful Tottenham Hotspur side during the 4-1 defeat at White Hart Lane.
How Delph is finally fulfilling his immense promise
Delph’s fusion of pace, drive and attacking incision make him the perfect amalgamation of these players, while his tireless work ethic also compliments the more indulgent talents such as Toure and David Silva.
He is also reaching his physical and mental peak, while rising to the occasion in the refined air of the Etihad Stadium and the upper echelons of the English Premier League. When you combine these elements, you are left with a player that may provide the difference in City’s title charge.
In some ways, we should not be surprised given Delph’s huge potential as a youth player.
Leeds United Academy manager Neil Thompson once stated that an 11-year old Delph was “the best player I have ever worked with,” while former Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood claimed that Delph had “more pace and drive than Paul Gascoigne.”
Lofty praise indeed, and as Delph continues to fulfill his potential he may well drive City to achieve major honors this season and beyond.