If you were checking Twitter while watching the England game last night, you’d have thought Delph was having a mare on his first England start.
People in armchairs all around the world were offering pearls of wisdom like ‘he needs a Lampard or Gerrard to have a word with him’ (they’ve retired) or ‘he’s going to be sent off any minute’.
First of all, it was his international starting debut, adrenaline is heighten and it will take any player a few minutes to settle his nervous energy. After the opening 15 minutes or so, Delph settled down nicely.
Also, there’s the old football tactic/adage of letting your opponent know they’re in for a game – ala what Roy Keane used to do. It’s something a football geek sitting behind a screen having never played the game won’t know much about. It’s also something that the stats men can’t really legislate for.
The Swiss no doubt fancied their chances against England last night. After all they had made the last 16 of the World Cup and England were a team starting from scratch. They’d have taken one look at the youthful England midfield and thought, ‘we’re going to boss that and dictate the game’.
Delph getting stuck in during the opening exchanges might have changed their minds somewhat.
The Big Yellow Deal
As for all those people panicking Delph was going to get sent off because he got a yellow card on nine minutes; as any Villa fan will know, it’s not exactly the first yellow Delph has had in his career.
In 154 career appearances, the Villa midfielder has picked up 43 yellow cards. He’s almost a 1-in-3 man when it comes to cautions, but there’s a more important stat – Delph has never been given a red card in his career.
MOMS was pretty relaxed he’d see out the game due to Delph’s experience of playing on a yellow, as was Roy Hodgson, who later-on substituted other England midfielders instead.
The England boss went onto praise Delph after the 2-0 victory in Basle, saying: “I thought that game was a really big occasion for him. It was great to see him play so well on his debut here in Switzerland.
“I didn’t quite know if I could get that level of performance. I have seen him play well for Aston Villa, but it’s another thing playing for England.
Overall Delph put in a respectable 7/10 shift for England and his stats actually back up a competent performance.
Delph had the highest pass completion rate of any England player – 97%
Delph touched the ball more than any other England midfielder (Henderson, Sterling, Wiltshire) – 57 times
Both stats show that Delph was very much in the action and also that his ball retention and use of the ball was very decent. In both of his England appearances this past week, he’s boasted the highest pass completion rate of the team with also 94% against Norway. That was only for a 30 minute cameo, so his outing against the Swiss, considering it was even higher despite his increased involvement is impressive.
There was only one downside to Delph’s performance and that’s the fact it’s going to cost Aston Villa a little bit more in wages when it comes to the offering of a new contract to him.
For now though, the boy Delph has certainly done us all proud after the initial rocky road of injuries in his Villa career and having to prove his doubters wrong along the way.
With added confidence from his England outings and Villa’s new midfield recruits to support him, this is shaping up to be quite a season for Delph. UTV