The Villa veteran agrees that his fellow midfielder is England's best at his position on current form.
Cole’s comments come after manager Tim Sherwood labelled Delph the Premier League’s best midfielder on current form after last weekend’s 3-2 win over Everton, when the new club captain put in another talismanic showing in the centre of the park.
The Bradford-native endured a slow start to his Villa after signing from Leeds United in 2009, with a succession of long-term injuries limiting him to just 37 appearances during his first three seasons, but a stellar 2013-14 campaign saw him receive widespread plaudits and led to a first international call-up in September.
Since going on win five caps, he looks to have taken his game to another level following Sherwood’s appointment, while also replacing Ron Vlaar as skipper, and has even started to show signs of adding more goals and assists to his game in recent weeks.
At 25, Cole believes that he still has a great deal of development ahead of him after missing so much time earlier in his career and, having penned a new deal until 2019, expects him to be showcasing his all-round qualities at Villa Park for seasons to come.
“Delphy’s quality,” said Cole. “I think he’s the most in-form England midfielder around at the moment.
“In my opinion, he should now be one of the first names on the teamsheet.
“He’s 25 but he’s lost a few years to injuries so you’ve got to look at him like a 23-year-old, as there’s still a lot more development to come.
“He’s getting better all the time and he’s playing brilliant. When you’ve got players on-form like that it’s massive.”