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Scoff at your peril: Fabian Delph's time has arrived

Monday 23rd October 2017
After a sustained spell on the sidelines, Fabian Delph is finally being granted a chance to stake his claim under Pep Guardiola in Manchester City's ever-improving side.
A month after rejecting Stoke City's £12 million offer, Manchester City's forgotten man made his first Premier League start since early April during the 1-0 away win over defending champions, Chelsea.

Delph's stubbornness pays off

City was collectively brilliant at Stamford Bridge. Fabian Delph looked confident throughout, quietly efficient in an unfamiliar left-back role. Defensively assured, he successfully made five tackles and three interceptions while keeping Chelsea's biggest threats at bay.

So why has it taken Delph so long to earn an opportunity under Guardiola? The answer: injuries and a lack of fortune, for the most part.

Following a surprise switch to Manchester two seasons ago, the former Aston Villa captain has suffered achilles problems, along with other muscular issues, which halted his development. Once fit and available, Delph featured sporadically as a squad rotation option during final few months of last season.

On a different note. Since his departure, the Villains have continued to regress, dropping down into the Championship. So, evidently, Delph's decision to leave - no matter how unpopular - was correct on a personal level.
Man City spent big in summer. Benjamin Mendy has already impressed having established himself as a cult figure following his £52 million transfer from Monaco. But football is a cruel, unpredictable sport - the French defender ruptured knee ligaments against Crystal Palace, ruling him out until April, at the earliest. As for Danilo, a £25 million arrival from Real Madrid, he was expected to fill the void left by Mendy. It is clear, however, that Pep is biding his time with the Brazilian full-back.

Delph has since stepped up, accordingly.

Adaptability and its rewards

For a player who prefers central midfield to full-back, Delph has proven that he's just happy to play regularly, in either position. He is doing his utmost to make City's left-back berth his own though.

Delph's solid form was recognised with an England call-up at beginning of this month. His last international cap came during a 2-0 friendly defeat by Spain in 2015.
Although Delph was forced to withdraw from national team duty as a precautionary measure, ensuring he'd recover from a minor hamstring complaint in time to feature for City, it's evident the midfielder's form is being rewarded. All signs point to the gradual progression he's made. Patience is a virtue.

So to all the sceptics who doubt his ability or suggest that there are better alternatives to choose from - they can continue to scoff, but do so at their own peril.

Under difficult circumstances, Delph has gone on to thrive at Man City, adapting to unfamiliar surroundings to help his team during a defensive shortage. And at 27, his peak years lie ahead.

Understandably keen to make up for lost time, a regular spot in Guardiola's side isn't difficult to fathom. Especially if Delph maintains a high level of consistency throughout this campaign. But, then, upon Mendy's return to first-team football: what's next for the England international?

Delph has also impressed featuring in midfield. Forming part of a trio alongside likes of Fernandinho, David Silva, and Kevin De Bruyne isn't out of the question. Man City's formational possibilities are endless. It makes watching Fabian Delph and his teammates all the more interesting.
Mosope Ominiyi
Mosope is an enthusiast of young talent across European football. Former sports editor at VAVEL, he writes for a range of different sites - follow him @Football365Mo to keep updated with his writing on various platforms.

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