Fabian Delph adds gentle game to star for England

Steven Gerrard will pass Billy Wright and equal Bobby Charton’s caps tally of 106 caps against Montenegro at Wembley tonight

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The Independent Football

Fabian Delph says he has refined the more combative aspects of his game in order to survive in international football. And with only one booking all season, he believes his new approach is working.

That yellow card was against Switzerland in September, Delph’s full England debut. Since then, the Aston Villa midfielder has established himself in an England team who have won all seven of their games since the World Cup, while also signing a new contract at his club.

Delph received a straight red against Sunderland in December but has not picked up a single booking, save the one for England in Basel, when he trod a very fine line in the opening minutes. At the same stage last season, he had been booked eight times.

“You’ve definitely got to be more careful,” he said. “But the way I play, I do like to tackle. I’ve managed to curb it this season believe it or not. I got the yellow against Switzerland and then the red against Sunderland, but other than that I’ve been pretty clean, so to speak.


“I’m usually on about nine or 10 bookings at this stage of the season, so it is something I’ve managed to curb a bit. It is hard to lunge into tackles in international football. You do get pulled up more, and if you lunge in on a top-class international footballer, they’re just going to skip around you. It’s something I’ve looked at. I tried to set a target at the start of the season and I’ve been able to do that. I’m proud of that.”

Delph added that re-signing for Villa was a “no-brainer”, and said that he had given no thought to leaving.