Aston Villa captain Ron Vlaar has tweeted his congratulations to teammate Fabian Delph, after seeing the midfielder make his England debut.
After a breakout 2013-14 season, 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.
Coming on as a substitute for the final 20 minutes of the 1-0 win over their Scandinavian opponents, the Villa man later spoke of his delight at getting his first taste of action in a Three Lions shirt.
‘It felt great. I didn’t really think about it too much. I just tried to relax as much as I could, and I got those minutes on the pitch so I’m happy,’ he said.
‘It’s been great training with everyone. I’ve known Daniel Sturridge for a long time and Wayne [Rooney] the skipper’s been great. They’ve welcomed all the new lads in and it’s a great bunch.’
Now looking ahead to the Switzerland matchup, Delph conceded that earning a place in the starting lineup might prove a tough ask, but is aiming to leave a lasting impression during his remaining time with the setup.
‘If selected to play then that’s great, but I’m here for the first time and I’m just looking to work hard, so anything else is a bonus,’ he added.
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.
Having now made his long-awaited breakthrough, however, the international retirements of Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard leave him with a prime chance to fight for a starting spot in Hodgson’s side, and the Bradford-native has thanked the club for helping him realise his potential.
‘It feels great. A few years ago I couldn’t really get in the first-team at Villa so it’s been a long road back. All the help I’ve had from the medical team, like Alan Smith, Stuart Walker, and some of the fitness coaches has helped me to get where I am now.’