Fabian Delph retires: When ex-Man City star took on Guardiola in dressing room clip

  • Kobe Tong
Delph in Man City vs Man Utd.

Fabian Delph has officially announced his retirement from professional football at the age of 32.

Writing on Instagram, the former England international said: “So today I announce my retirement with nothing but happiness and gratitude for what this beautiful game has given me.

“Massive shout-out to my family, friends, players and staff from the amazing clubs I have been fortunate enough to represent as well as the support I have had from the fans.”

Delph’s impressive career

The news comes off the back of a tough two seasons at Everton where injuries led to him making just a handful of appearances and ultimately saw him leave the club upon the expiration of his contract this summer.

However, make no mistake that Delph enjoyed an impressive career in the beautiful game, often going underrated despite strutting his stuff for Leeds United and Aston Villa early in his career.

And when that promise was finally rewarded with a move to Manchester City in 2015, you’ve got to say that Delph handled the pressure a lot better than many players who came before him.

You would, after all, have been forgiven for fearing that Delph might have followed in the footsteps of Scott Sinclair and Jack Rodwell as he arrived at the Etihad Stadium in the same summer of much bigger names such as Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling.

Delph on the ball for Man City.
Soccer Football – Premier League – Manchester City v Fulham – Etihad Stadium, Manchester, Britain – September 15, 2018 Manchester City’s Fabian Delph in action REUTERS/Phil Noble EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or “live” services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

Delph in Man City’s ‘Centurion’ season

And while his time with City was by no means trouble free, Delph stepped up when it mattered most during the 2017/18 season in which Pep Guardiola won his first ever Premier League title.

Injuries meant that Delph played a much bigger role for the Citizens than he had over the previous two seasons, spending much of the club’s historic ‘Centurion’ season as the first-choice left-back.

In fact, the important role that Delph played in Guardiola’s squad that season was finely illustrated in the Amazon ‘All or Nothing’ documentary that tracked City’s legendary run to 100 points.

Despite Delph not having the name status of players like Vincent Kompany, Sergio Aguero and David Silva, he wasn’t afraid to make his feelings clear in the dressing room and that was especially apparent after the infamous collapse against Manchester United.

Delph in Man City training.
Soccer Football – Champions League – Manchester City Training – City Football Academy, Manchester, Britain – April 9, 2018 Manchester City’s Oleksandr Zinchenko and Fabian Delph during training Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff

Delph speaks his mind amidst dressing room drama

In a game that looked certain to wrap up City’s first title since 2014 on derby day, Guardiola’s men bottled a 2-0 half-time lead as Jose Mourinho and co delayed the celebrations with a 3-2 victory.

And much to the delight of curious football fans the world over, the subsequent dressing room scenes made the cut and boy was Delph furious about how the Citizens had performed.

Even before the cameras arrived in the dressing room itself, Delph could be heard fuming: “F****** s*** man, f**** sake. F****** useless. F*** me. F****** hell.”

Kompany and Yaya Toure then addressed the squad with the latter citing fatigue as the reason for the collapse, prompting Delph to chime in: “F****** tired? It’s simple, it’s straightforward. We stopped f****** running in the second half.”

Video: Delph fumes in the dressing room after Man City 2-3 Man Utd

Guardiola then tried his best to calm down the dialogue between players, before even going as far as insinuating that the complaint from Delph that City didn’t run enough was ‘bull****’.

In reply, Delph then added: “I’m not blaming anyone, it’s just the basics of football. When things go against us and everybody drops their head, just remember the basics.

“Winning our individual battles, sticking together as a unit, f****** defenders defending, midfielders box to box, f****** keepers. Just the basics of football.

“When we go behind, or something comes against us, we freeze. When something goes against us, think of the basics of football.”

Guardiola coaching Delph at Man City.
Soccer Football – Premier League – Manchester City v AFC Bournemouth – Etihad Stadium, Manchester, Britain – December 1, 2018 Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola gives instructions to Fabian Delph Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or “live” services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

Delph deserves more credit

To that, Guardiola then picked up the lead again and doubled down on how important it was for City not to give Liverpool even the slightest glimmer of hope in what was left of the title race.

Now, as we know, City went onto win the title at a canter and the tense dressing room scenes after the United defeat are ultimately part and parcel of life for elite football teams behind the scenes.

Read more: Premier League 22/23 Game week 9: Fixtures, predictions, odds, table & everything you need to know

Nevertheless, it served as a fascinating insight into the greatest Premier League team of all time and just how much of a key role that Delph, so often underrated and overlooked, played in it.

He wasn’t afraid to speak his mind in key moments just as he wasn’t afraid to step up to the plate that season when required and for that, he deserves a lot of respect. Happy retirement, Fabian.

Delph with the Premier League trophy.
Soccer Football – Premier League – Manchester City vs Huddersfield Town – Etihad Stadium, Manchester, Britain – May 6, 2018 Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling, Fabian Delph and teammates celebrate with the trophy after winning the Premier League title REUTERS/Phil Noble EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or “live” services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
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