In the wake of Fabian Delph committing his long-term future to Aston Villa, manager Paul Lambert has told the club’s official website that the midfielder is a claret and blue captain in the making.
Delph, 25, was out of contract at the end of the season, and speculation surrounding his future had been rampant in recent months, with the likes of the Telegraph reporting serious interest from Everton, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur.
There were suggestions that the England international wanted a fresh challenge elsewhere but, having since penned a new deal until 2019 over the weekend, Lambert believes his star man has all the qualities to take on the armband in the coming seasons.
"Fabian will be a big driving force for this club for the next few years,” he said. "It is a great coup for us for him to stay. He will go from strength to strength.
"He is a captain in the making and has that personality and a driving force and hunger to succeed. I think he would thrive on the responsibility of it. He could do it.
"He's a mature guy and his loyalty speaks volumes for the guy.”
Signing from Leeds United in August 2009 for around £6 million, it took some time for Villa to see the best of Delph, with various injuries hampering his progress during his first few seasons in the Premier League.
The team’s midfield talisman made his long-awaited breakthrough during the 2013-14 campaign, however, and has since gone from strength-to-strength, standing out as the club’s top performer, while even earning his first three England caps this term.
"I think he can be a really, really top player if he keeps his feet on the ground. He's still only young,” Lambert added. "Hopefully he will be a big part of Aston Villa's present and future.”