Fabian Delph has set an excellent precedent


The public reaction to the news that Fabian Delph will not be leaving Aston Villa this Summer said quite a lot. When, yesterday, it appeared as if Delph was headed for Manchester City, the air was thick with a sense of deja vu - here was an England international making great strides in his career and here he was about to willfully derail himself.

Delph is neither Jack Rodwell nor Scott Sinclair and his theoretical claim to a starting role at The Etihad Stadium was at least credible, but such a transfer surely represented an enormous gamble - a preposterous risk to be taking a year out from Euro 2016. Had he completed a move to the North-West, Delph’s future seemed pre-determined: ten-to-fifteen Premier League starts a year, diminishing relevance and, eventually, a loan or a transfer back down the table.

That isn’t to diminish his ability, because Delph is a good player - in fact, he’s arguably the most undervalued midfielder in the country. The point, instead, is that such a transfer would have been an over-reach and, given City’s quota-driven motives for pursuing him, a move which would likely have been of greater benefit to his new club than it would have been to him.

Where is Delph’s place in that current City team? How does he improve them? What guarantees are there that, within a year, he wouldn’t have been competing with a Pogba or a Vidal?

There’s an argument that contests that and which says that English players should be encouraged to test themselves and shouldn’t settle within a comfort-zone. That’s not untrue but, in this instance, it wasn’t really applicable. If Villa are unable to awake from their recent sleep-walk at the foot of the division, then Delph absolutely should try to challenge himself at a higher level - but that’s a relative situation.

There is a chasm between City and Villa and moving from one to the other would have been less a progression and more a quantum leap. Players should have ambition and that always, always, always has to tempered by a sense of realism. When the former is emphasised over the latter, the result is usually the same: career stagnation that, sometimes, can be a precursor to permanent devaluation.

So Delph has avoided the honey-trap and he and his representatives are to be applauded for that. It’s good news for Villa, clearly, but it also sets a very healthy example for the future. Playing-time governs progress and all the fallacies about training with a higher standard of player and being exposed to a superior working environment amount to little beyond the false-justification of a reckless choice.

Watch and learn, English players: all that glitters isn’t gold.

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9 Comments on "Fabian Delph has set an excellent precedent"

  1. Its was a question of either a chance to win Titles, Trophys and medals at City or stay as captain of a mid table team. Simply boils down to ambition. Lescott, Milner and Barry were on the bench sometimes but it did’nt stop their England selection. In fainess its his choice.

  2. Did city actually talk to Delph? I’m not sure they did! Delph quote to villas website was “speculation”

  3. England are cack because ... | Jul 11, 2015 at 11:20 pm |

    England will benefit by stocking themselves with players who play week in week out in relegation battles ? I’m lost

  4. Of course they have trophies, thanks to paying players like Toure over 200k per week to reluctantly put on that blue shirt your bound to win something. Its everything thats wrong with football… Delph I hope is the start of England finally carving out a future again, a football player with a soul, fancy that eh?

  5. Milner, Hart, Barry, Lescott all have multiple trophies from what they achieved at City. Delphi could have gone and made a position his own there too had he shown more personal ambition. He either bottled it or didn’t have self belief.
    He could have being playing for one of the two top teams in England and in the champions league. But I guess all the press would prefer our England players to settle for mid-table obscurity.

  6. Wow an English lad who isnt a mercenary … Villa put Barry and Milner in the England fold by the way not City!

  7. Michael Joseph | Jul 11, 2015 at 6:18 pm |

    This is the best commentary i have read from a source that is not partizan Aston Villa. What you have said is ultimately true, go to citeh and earn a few million more than the millions you are already earning, but, you will effectively burn your career.
    Well said…..

  8. Yeah he was gonna derail himself? Sinclair and Rodwell were not England players and still are not even though they’re not a City. Hart became and England player with City as did Adam Johnson also Milner played for England as a regular because of his time at City as did Barry. Are the ones who left City playing for England? Milner may for a time but not long Johnson got no where near, so what is it you’re actually saying? If Delph wants to become an England regular he has to move to a top club or one of the top clubs players will be in instead. I don’t think City even made a move for Delph looks like press ranting to me, but if he get the opportunity to play at the top he’d be wise to take it looking at some mentioned here

  9. So the likes of Milner, Hart,Lescott, Milner,Barry, etc who all achieved the pinnacle of their careers with City are not examples of quality English players that excelled? Rodwell and Sinclair both boast horrendos injury records during their time at City. If england continues to boast players that are either at mediocre or relegation clubs, we are somehow pretending the national team will get better. Starting for Villa is alot different than proving your worth at a top 4 club.

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