Aston Villa's Fabian Delph credits Roy Keane for growing stature

The pair spent less than five months working together at Villa but Delph believes the Irishman had a big role in helping him become both an England starter and captain material.

Roy Keane might have spent less than five months at Aston Villa but star man Fabian Delph has told the Telegraph that the former assistant manager had a big influence on him.

Keane was appointed as the since-departed Paul Lambert’s number two in the summer following the sacking of Ian Culverhouse, combining the role with his coaching position with the Republic of Ireland.

The Manchester United legend’s no-nonsense approach earned rave reviews from the first-team squad over his first few months at Villa Park, before he made the sudden decision to quit the club in November, claiming that he wanted to devote more time to the international scene.

Speaking last week on his decision to walk out, Keane told the Telegraph: “It was a chance to get to games and see the [Ireland] players a bit more often so that's not an issue. I was always comfortable with the decision and I felt it was right for everybody. I’ve no problem [with what I’ve done] It was the right decision.”

Nevertheless, despite their brief time together, Delph insists that he learnt a great deal from Keane and credits the Irishman with helping prepare him for the demands of international football.

The England midfielder has also become Villa’s stand-in captain over the last five matches with usual skipper Ron Vlaar suspended and now out injured, and believes some of Keane’s leadership qualities have rubbed off on him.

“He was a world-class player,” said Delph. “I definitely picked up a few things from Roy, just his desire to win. He was really focused on what he wanted from us and seeing him like that made me want to be more driven.”

With Tim Sherwood now at the helm, Delph has another former Premier League-winning captain to look to for guidance on the training ground and he has been delighted with the positive approach the ex-Blackburn Rovers skipper has brought to the club since replacing Lambert.

“When you bring in a new manager, it seems to lift the tempo and the standard seems to go up,” he added. “That has definitely happened. He’s just been so positive with the boys, especially with me. He’s had a great impact.’’

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