‘One to Watch in 2010’ – Aston Villa’s Fabian Delph

Aston Villa starlet Fabian Delph could be one to watch in 2010 after beginning to settle into life at Villa Park.

The 20 yr old former Leeds United midfielder who has made just seven appearances for the midlands club this season has taken some time to get used to his new surroundings. Aston Villa is believed to be treading carefully with the youngster after the leap from League One to the Premier League has taken its toll.

After successfully working his way through the Leeds United youth ranks, Delph became a fan favourite upon breaking into the West Yorkshire side’s first team last season. Known for his dribbling and long distance shooting abilities, Delph set Elland Road alight. The Bradford born midfielder won the Football League young player of the year and after much wrangling with numerous clubs over fees Delph was signed by Martin O’Neill for Aston Villa. The fee was undisclosed but believed to exceed £6 million.

It was a good deal all round, Leeds United were paid rather handsomely for an extremely good young player and Aston Villa had got hold of one of the most exciting talents in English football, yet it appears initially the move up two divisions has caught Delph in the headlights. His seven appearances this season have been few and far between and with a side gunning for the top four; it is believed the England U21 international is not of that standard yet. Martin O’ Neill has raised questions over the players’ basic tackling ability, he told The People:

‘As of this minute, he hasn’t actually really learned the art of tackling properly so he leaves his body open to being injured. I’m talking about the technique challenging, he’ll go in regardless of safety for himself, where the more experienced players will go in and make sure that they are well enough protected.’

Inexperience seems to be having its effect on young Delph; furthermore his confidence looked shaken after playing particularly poor in his Aston Villa debut in September against Wigan. A 0-2 loss at Villa Park with Delph being substituted after 61 minutes told its own tale. The price tag may be weighing heavily on the young lad and the expectations to which he has set himself following his performances at Leeds United.

Yet there is hope, Martin O’ Neill has backed him to become a top player ‘I’ve got faith in him, I know that he can play and he’ll be a proper player in the next 18 months. Then I think you’ll see a bit more quality from him, particularly next year.’

The Aston Villa manager is cleverly taking the pressure of Delph by suggesting that he doesn’t have to be a world beater yet, it will come naturally. The jump of two divisions’ of football is massive, Delph was never going to be a superstar straight away in the Premier League, his time will come and patience is required. After settling in at Aston Villa and a good pre-season under his belt, Delph could make a big impact next season.

Do you think Fabian Delph will make an impact at Aston Villa next season?

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