Aston Villa’s Delph reflects on England debut and Rooney leadership

Three Lions Wembley

The Aston Villa midfielder, who appeared for the final 20 minutes of England’s 1-0 friendly win over Norway, was positive on his Three Lions experience.

Fresh from making his England bow in the 70th minute of the Three Lions' clash with Norway, Fabian Delph appeared positive about his international future and the captaincy of Wayne Rooney.

The 24-year-old was among a handful of new faces to earn a call-up to Roy Hodgson’s squad for last night’s friendly encounter and the national team’s first Euro 2016 qualifier with Switzerland on Monday.

And speaking to Emily Liles on the official Aston Villa website, the former Leeds United star expressed his delight at enjoying a largely positive cameo in front of the Wembley crowd.

"It felt great. I didn’t really think about it too much, just tried to relax as much as I could and I managed to get some minutes on the pitch, so I am going home happy," he said.

Delph was also quick to single out newly-appointed England captain Wayne Rooney for particular praise in demonstrating leadership skills both on and off the pitch.

“It’s been great, training with them, ... the skipper Wayne [Rooney] has been great with us, with the new lads that have come in, he’s welcomed us.”

The Aston Villa midfielder also spoke candidly about the difficult journey he has made from being a teenage sensation at Elland Road to one of the brightest English talents in the top-flight today.

Signed from Leeds by Villa for an undisclosed fee believed to be in the region of £8 million back in August 2009, Delph took time to develop at the Birmingham club with injuries and a loss of confidence proving his downfall in those early years.

But with a bright future ahead of him, the 24-year-old was keen to single out those behind the scenes at Villa Park for playing their part in his rise to the England national team.

"A few years ago I couldn’t really get fit and get in the first team at Villa, so it’s been a long, hard road," he told Liles.

"All the help that I’ve had from the medical team and people like Alan Smith, Stuart Walker and some of the fitness coaches has helped me to get where I am now."

And while Delph refused to be drawn on the subject of whether he had done enough to feature against Switzerland next week, should he continue to shine in the Premier League, a bright future could await the Aston Villa man.

England are widely expected to qualify for the European Championships in 2016, with the tournament set to be hosted by France.

And while Delph will be hoping his club form keeps him in Hodgson’s thoughts, Villa new boy Tom Cleverley will also be keen to stake a claim for a spot, having moved to the Clarets on loan from Manchester United in a bid to gain more playing time.

Cleverley was a late addition to the Villa squad, joining the club on loan some 24 hours after the transfer window was supposed to have closed.

Check out the full Delph interview below:

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