Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood has told the club’s official website that he believes Fabian Delph is a claret and blue captain in the making.
Delph, 25, captained Villa for the first time this season in last month’s 5-0 defeat at Arsenal, with Ron Vlaar out injured and stand-in skipper Gabriel Agbonlahor benched, and led the team out for a second time in the weekend’s 1-0 loss at Newcastle United with the Dutchman suspended.
With Vlaar now a fitness doubt for tonight’s visit of West Bromwich Albion, Sherwood would have little hesitation in handing the midfielder the armband for the second consecutive match over Agbonlahor.
The Villa boss is well-versed in leadership, having skippered Blackburn Rovers to the Premier League title in 1995, and he believes the England international has all the commanding qualities to make him a fine figurehead in the dressing room.
“You need someone who is not going to shirk responsibility,” said Sherwood. "At the moment, we're in a situation where it could be easy for players to shirk responsibility.
"But I don't think Fabian is one of those characters. I am certainly not one of those. That's what I was looking for - and someone who is willing to get on the ball and willing to drive the team on.”
Delph proved his commitment to Villa during the recent transfer window amid speculation surrounding his future, penning a new deal until 2019 to ward off interest from the likes of Everton, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur, per the Telegraph.
With Vlaar looking set to leave at the end of his contract in the summer, Sherwood could be on the lookout for a new permanent captain, but Delph might not be an option if relegation forces the club to sell all their prized assets.
Now it is a critical situation. We need to take points,” Sherwood added. “The players need to realise the severity of the situation of what we're in.
"The pressure is immense. There's no chance of taking pressure of these guys because they are playing for a massive football club at the wrong end of the table. That's life. Get on with it.”