Delph happy in England camp

Published: Thursday 11th June 2015 by The News Editor

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Fabian Delph watched England’s disastrous World Cup from home – but now he feels a firm part of the set-up as Roy Hodgson’s side aim for Euro 2016.

The Aston Villa captain picked up his maiden international cap in England’s first competitive game since their feeble campaign in Brazil last summer.

Hodgson’s new-look team saw off main Group E rivals Switzerland in Basle that night and have won every European Championship qualifier since then.

They now travel to face second-placed Slovenia in Ljubljana on Sunday looking to remain unbeaten since Brazil and Delph revealed how he has gone from being an England fan to being a man looking for a sixth cap.

“I would have been with my family and my daughter having a rest, just having family time,” he said when asked of his memories of England’s World Cup campaign.

“That is in the past now and we are looking forward to the future. We have some promising players who look like they are going to kick on and hopefully that will happen soon.

“Of course, for me it was about performing well for my club, I wasn’t really think about the international stage, I just thought if I played well for Villa I may get a chance to join up with the squad and try and get involved.

“It has been great. At the start of the season if you said I would have five caps by now I’d be really pleased with that.

“We have been fighting relegation for about four years – it was all about performing well for Villa and if one day I did get the call up it would be a good day and luckily enough for me that happened.”

Delph has been praised for his performances during his first England outings and, alongside the likes of Leicester’s Jamie Vardy and Charlie Austin of QPR, is showing that a player does not need to play for a Champions League side to grace the international stage.

“A lot of the boys here are playing for the top four teams,” he said.

“I was fighting relegation with Villa, it is great to make the squad and all credit to Roy to be fair because he is the one who has picked me, put me in and given me the opportunity to perform well.

“I’m always looking for the next squad and hoping I’m in it to get the chance to represent my country.

“The boys have been brilliant, they have helped me out. I felt quite comfortable going into the game. Since then I have stayed in the squad.”

If selected in Slovenia, Delph will be hoping for a better result than his last appearance for Villa – as Tim Sherwood’s side lost 4-0 to Arsenal in a one-sided FA Cup final.

“I have been saying it was an achievement to get there,” he said.

“I enjoyed playing in the game and I would have loved to have won it but we were up against strong opposition.

“We just came up short – if we are being honest we were a club fighting to stay in the Premier League and managed to dig it out and get to the final.”

Having nursed his way through the final weeks of the season with a couple of niggling injuries, he is now ready to put his cup-final despair behind him and help England wrap up their season in style.

“I’m really keen to get out on the pitch and try to help the boys move forward,” he added.

“I’m not a fan of being injured, it has been nice to get out there and get a few sessions in.

“The boys are still firing, still fit. A few of the boys had a week off and then it was straight back into it so fitness levels are still high – the boys look sharp in training.

“I try to train as hard as I can in every session I have. Towards the end of the season you start to tire, especially for me because this season was a relegation battle and it was quite tough to come out of it.”

As Villa skipper, Delph knows just how good young winger Jack Grealish could be – but the former Leeds man insists he will not try and influence his decision on whether to represent Ireland or England.

“I will leave that to him,” he said of Grealish.

“He is a young boy and has done really well since Tim Sherwood came in. He has represented Ireland but it is his decision to do what he wants to do. I won’t be putting pressure on him.”

Published: Thursday 11th June 2015 by The News Editor

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