Aston Villa's Fabian Delph gets captaincy backing from Kieran Richardson

The midfielder again led the team out for the 3-3 draw with QPR, despite the soon-to-be out-of-contract Ron Vlaar's return, and could now be set to take on the armband on a full-time basis.

Fabian Delph has all the attributes to be Aston Villa’s long-term captain, teammate Kieran Richardson has told AVTV.

Delph, 25, captained Villa for this first time this season in February’s 5-0 defeat at Arsenal, with Ron Vlaar out injured and then-stand-in skipper Gabriel Agbonlahor benched, and has since led the team out on seven further occasions in the absence of the Dutchman.

Even with Vlaar returning for the 3-3 home draw with Queens Park Rangers for the first time in seven weeks, the midfielder still kept the armband and, with the experienced centre-back's contract expiring in the summer and no extension in sight, the team could soon be naming a permanent replacement.

There's little doubt that Delph is now the obvious front-runner, having both committed his future to the club until 2019 and seen new manager Tim Sherwood praise his leadership qualities in recent months, and Richardson believes he would be the perfect choice.

“Fabian is a great lad,” he said. “He’s got loads of plaudits and he deserves it.

“He’s a good leader and I’m sure he’ll go on to be captain for a long, long time at this club.”

Like Vlaar, Richardson also returned to the line-up for the visit of QPR after a seven-week absence, having lasted just 42 minutes into Sherwood’s first game in charge against Stoke before going off injured.

His lack of match practice showed on the night, with all three opposition goals coming from attack down the left-back’s side of the pitch, but he is now feeling lifted after a 90-minute run-out and keen to get involved during the final months of the season.

“The new manager came in and I lasted just 40 minutes into his first game and had been out for six weeks,” he added.

“Coming back for QPR, I think only trained for four sessions before I actually played so it was just great to play 90 minutes without any scares.”

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