Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert has spoken of his delight at seeing Fabian Delph earn an England call-up, and believes the midfielder can go on to carve out a long international career for himself.
The 24-year-old was named as one of four uncapped players in Roy Hodgson’s 22-man squad for Wednesday's friendly against Norway at Wembley, as well as the Euro 2016 qualifier in Switzerland on Monday.
The Scot believes the former under-21 international was unfortunate not to receive the nod last season, given his starring performances for the club, and believes he now has a prime shot at establishing himself as a regular in the setup.
‘It’s great that he’s been called up and now a lot will now depend on Fab himself,’ he said.
‘I think he was unfortunate not to get in at the start of last year when he was playing ever so well. We thought he had a chance then, but the England manager will pick the squad he feels is right, he makes the choices.
‘With two big players people retiring it gives him the opportunity to get in. He has started the season really well so it’s great for him and it’s great for the club.
‘I think it will give him a major boost in own career little than anything else. His confidence will be that notch higher, so I just hope everything goes alright and he keeps fit and healthy.’
|2013-14||Goals||Goal Assist||Total Att Assist||Total Tackle||Duel Won||Interception||Total Pass||Pass Acc %||Apps||Mins|
|Fabian Delph||Aston Villa||3||2||28||100||251||58||1,586||83.61||34||3,003|
|Michael Carrick||Man Utd||1||0||28||61||110||80||2,051||88.59||29||2,413|
|Tom Cleverley||Man Utd||1||0||10||48||89||34||1,137||89.62||22||1,579|
|James Milner||Man City||1||4||29||31||84||10||750||84.00||31||1,358|
After joining from Leeds United in August 2009 for around £8 million, it took some time for Villa to see the best of Delph, with injuries hampering his progress during his first few seasons in the midlands.
However, the club’s midfielder talisman made his long-awaited breakthrough during the 2013-14 campaign, with his displays earing him the fans’ player of the season award, and prompting Lambert to tip him for his first senior selection.
With the international retirements of Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard, as well as recent injuries to Ross Barkley, Michael Carrick and Adam Lallana, Delph now has a golden opportunity to impress with the Three Lions, but whether he can leapfrog the likes of Jack Wilshere and Jordan Henderson to earn a place in the lineup going forward remains to be seen.