If you had told Fabian Delph this time last year that he would make England’s squad for the 2018 World Cup, he probably wouldn’t have believed you.
The Manchester City player was wanted by Stoke City but he decided to stay at the Etihad Stadium.
Still, he wasn’t guaranteed many minutes in Pep Guardiola’s side.
But when Benjamin Mendy suffered a major injury, Delph was offered an opportunity to reinvent himself as a left-back.
And it’s an opportunity he took with both hands, making 29 appearances in all competitions and collected a Premier League winner’s medal.
Now, he finds himself a part of Gareth Southgate’s 23-man squad that will represent England in Russia.
“I was at home when I got the text,” Delph said. “I thought I had a good chance of being involved, so I wouldn’t say I was surprised. But I was over the moon, doing cartwheels.”
Delph and Jones' predicament
Yet there’s every chance Delph may have to head home early.
The Man City player and Manchester United’s Phil Jones have both been given permission to fly home during the tournament to attend the birth of their children.
Both players’ wives are due to go into labour next month, with Delph’s wife expecting on June 30 - two days after England’s final group game match against Belgium - and Jones’ wife before the squad travels to Russia on June 12.
If the birth of Jones’ first child is delayed, he will be allowed to return to England during the competition.
“Gareth’s been absolutely fantastic,” Delph said, per The Guardian.
“There’s not just me, there’s Phil Jones as well – I think his wife’s expecting.
“There’s nothing more important than family to me – it always comes first and always will.
“If I do have the opportunity to get back [home], I will. But if not, she’s tough, she’ll deal with it.
“We’re not 100 per cent certain [what will occur] – but because the game is on the 28th there might be an opportunity to fly back and then get back fast.”
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