Aston Villa legend Martin Laursen has paid tribute to Fabian Delph, after witnessing the claret and blue standout star for England over the past week.
Delph, 24, earned both his first senior cap and start for the Three Lions following a breakout 2013-14 campaign which saw him earn widespread plaudits, with a regular spot in the lineup now in his sights for the future.
The midfielder endured a tough start to life at Villa after signing from Leeds United in 2009 for around £6 million, with injuries halting his progress, but is now the club’s undisputed talisman, and Laursen is delighted to see him thriving for the club he once skippered.
‘I have to pay tribute to Fabian Delph,’ he wrote on the club’s official website. ‘I was so pleased to see him get the call-up and then play competitively for England in Euro 2016 qualifying.
‘To play for your country is a big, big thing. It's great for him and great for the club too. It's great recognition for the good season he has had.
‘In terms of stature, he's not so big but he has a massive heart. On the pitch, he's all over the place. He works so, so hard and he has a wonderful left-foot.
‘He has real quality and quantity. That's what you need in midfield in the Premier League. You need someone who can run up and down and get around the pitch but also has some football brilliance in his feet.
‘He has shown great strength of character to come back from his injuries,’ he added. ‘He has been through some big ones. I admire him so much. I really mean that.
‘I know how tough it is to come back from bad injuries. And I know the feeling you have when you return and play well. I have done it. It's incredible joy to be able to go out on the pitch again.
‘I know also the desire you have to come back and play well after being out for a long period. You just want to play football so badly.
‘To do that - and do it well like Fabian has done - is so, so nice for your career but also for your life. He'll be a very happy guy!’