When it was reported that Fabian Delph was in talks with Manchester City over an £8 million move it seemed only a matter of time before the Englishman parted company with Aston Villa. Indeed the medical was planned and the transfer appeared to be a foregone conclusion. However Delph sprung a surprise on Saturday when he announced that he intended to stay with Aston Villa. It is a rare display of loyalty in football that the Aston Villa captain should be praised for.
LOYALTY TO VILLA
Loyalty is becoming worryingly rare in modern day football. Most players would not have given the decision to transfer to Manchester City a second thought. The majority of players would have disregarded their current club in favour of the bigger and more successful of the two.
However, Fabian Delph has proved that he isn't like most players. He has proven that he is a rare breed who still values loyalty over personal ambitions. In a summer that has been dominated by the Raheem Sterling saga it is refreshing to see such an admirable display of loyalty.
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This is after all the club that made him. He arrived from Leeds in 2009 as a League One player but he has since gone on to become an England international thanks to the help of Villa. They've shown a great deal of faith in the player, loaning him to back to Leeds in 2012 before allowing him to establish himself in the Villa team during the 2012/13 season.
He's become a crucial player for Villa and enjoyed an excellent season in spite of the clubs relegation battle. The decision to make him club captain shows just how much the club value the player and it is good to see that despite City's interest Delph has not forgotten everything Villa have done for him.
NOT SETTLING FOR THE BENCH
It's unclear where Delph would have fitted into the Manchester City side. While we can only guess how Pellegrini would have used the player it seems likely that he would have been in a battle for a first team spot. The likes of Yaya Toure, Fernando and Fernandinho are already there meaning Delph could well have found his opportunities limited.
It's something that we've seen before. Jack Rodwell and Scott Sinclair both struggled for minutes at the Etihad. While fans will argue that they simply weren't good enough, it's also apparent that they weren't given much of a chance.
Delph spoke with new Villa team-mate Micah Richards about City. Richards is another who became a victim of City's heavy spending. From being a first team regular in the sides first title winning season he quickly found himself being phased out. Perhaps the former England international's words have influenced Delph's decision.
Even though young English players have struggled at City in the past this wouldn't have been enough to stop most players. Raheem Sterling is quite happy to run the risk of becoming a squad player. Fabian Delph though was not willing to settle for a place on the City bench.
Yes he might have won more trophies and earned more money at City, but how much would he really have been part of City's success? He might well have won more medals, but if you look back at the end of your career and know that your contribution to those triumphs was minimal then are those medals really that valuable?
For the time being he will stay at Villa. With respect, he will not win as many trophies as he could have with City. However he can feel satisfied that he is playing regularly for a club and fan base that values his contribution.
A TRUE ENGLAND INTERNATIONAL
Too many players today are motivated by money. However Delph has proved that he is plays for the love of the game not the financial gain. The England squad needs more of this type of player. Loyalty is an undervalued trait in football, possibly because so many do not show it.
Fabian Delph is not world-class and he probably never will be but he is someone who truly deserves his place in the England squad. There are too many egos in the current set-up, angling for their next move, thinking about their next pay packet. Delph is not this type of player. He is someone who is playing the game for the right reasons. His decision to not settle for a place on City's bench proves this.
England do not have enough of this type of player. Love him or hate him, Steven Gerrard was one. A loyal player who loves the game. Terry, Beckham and Lampard were other prominent examples but these players are gone now. We're in desperate need of players with genuine pride and commitment and Fabian Delph is one of them.
He may not be as technically gifted as Jack Wilshire and he may lack the experience of Michael Carrick but Fabian Delph should be the first name on the team sheet in the centre of England's midfield for the foreseeable future.
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