At the beginning of the season, it was hard to see where the Englishman would fit in. A midfield player in a side with an abundance of talent was always a head scratcher. Signed in July 2015, during Manuel Pellegrini’s watch, marking a dramatic u-turn from the former Villa Captain.
Maybe it was his previous role in the Midlands, or maybe he just believed in Guardiola’s vision. Either way, there has been numerous chances to leave the Etihad, and he’s turned down every one.
Having played left back earlier in his career, he saw the chance to provide an answer to Pep Guardiola’s dilemma. Whether the guy was hard-working was never the question about the English International, and so he puts his head down.
Pep didn’t seem to like what Danilo offered in that position, while Zinchenko is happier further forward. At one point Sane was tried in a similar position, being asked to track back to defend, with disastrous results.
For £8 million he has proved very useful for the Blues this season. He has actually played more League games this season than either the last two seasons. No, he hasn’t always made the right decisions in games, but overall, he has done the job asked.
Yes there were a few poor defending decisions, along with that red card against Wigan. But when he got injured, we became worried. Also he scored that fantastic goal against Palace and was involved as City collected 18 consecutive League wins.
It even saw a recall to the National side, although he had to pull out through injury. Will he be in Gareth Southgate’s 23-man squad to go to Russia in a few months? I think it certainly wouldn’t be a bad choice.
Now 28, he still has much to offer, but will it be for City? Benjamin Mendy is the first choice for left back, and will certainly take that role back sooner rather than later. Zinchenko is up and coming in that role, and maybe Delph will want to look elsewhere after picking up the Premier League winners medal.
It certainly would have proven a bet gone right for the Bradford born utility player. When he rejected the overtures of Stoke in January the snake emoji’s came out. Slated for only staying ‘for the money’ he has proved that false.
I think football fans should see that as a fresh of breath air. A player backing his own ability to fight back and make a contribution to a side, when it would have been easier to move to a smaller club and be comfortable. In a world where players and agents are all too eager to angle for the move, it was good to see someone angling for a stay.
Then, for that ‘stay’ to include working in another position and doing it well shows the willingness to put in the time and effort. For that, Delph deserves his time on the podium and in the limelight. And who knows, maybe he will take some of the pressure off Fernandinho next season and become the Fred we wanted.