Delph enjoying role alongside Petrov

Aston Villa midfielder Fabian Delph is thrilled to have been given the chance to learn his trade alongside Bulgaria star Stiliyan Petrov.

The 21-year-old midfielder won rave reviews for his performance alongside Petrov in Saturday's 3-1 Barclays Premier League victory over Blackburn, and will head into tomorrow night's Carling Cup second round clash with Hereford more than happy with his lot.



Former Leeds player Delph has had to contend with his fair share of injury misery since arriving at Villa Park in August 2009, but a run of good health and the influence of his illustrious team-mate have seen him make a fine start to the new campaign.



He told AVTV: "Stiliyan is tremendous. I have learned so much from him.



"He is a great captain. He is brilliant. He is the skipper and he does the job better than anyone.



"He's played hundreds and hundreds of games at the highest level. He's so experienced and I'm learning loads from him.



"I'm speaking to him. He's speaking to me. There's a good understanding developing there and long may that continue."



The two men provided the midfield solidity which allowed Gabriel Agbonlahor, Emile Heskey and Darren Bent to find the back of the net at the weekend and send Villa into tomorrow night's cup tie in excellent spirits.



Agbonlahor was another to catch the eye as Blackburn wilted, and manager Alex McLeish has high hopes for the 24-year-old after asking him to change his game as he attempted to accommodate all the attacking talent at his disposal.



McLeish said: "When I first came to the club, I wondered what had happened to him last season, and how I could get guys like him and Bent in the same team.



"The answer is for Gabby to learn new tricks and he's had to adapt to a different position, and he's been fantastic for the team over the last couple of games.



"But you have got to want to do that. It's about attitude and every player has showed tremendous commitment into working for the team, and Gabby capped it off with a stunning goal.



"He has taken up the challenge. He played a few times in wide areas last season and it wasn't quite the Agbonlahor we were used to seeing.



"But I remember him playing there when I was at Birmingham and supporting John Carew from the wide areas, and I always thought he was very dangerous. I felt he had it in his locker.



"But it's only two games. We have a squad of players, some young players, bursting to get into the team, and Gabby knows people are breathing down his neck, the same as everybody else."



Agbonlahor is a doubt for the Hereford game after limping off at half-time on Saturday with a hamstring problem, and McLeish also has concerns over goalkeeper Shay Given, defender Luke Young and Heskey.



Provisional squad: Given, Guzan, Young, Dunne, Collins, Warnock, Petrov, Delph, N'Zogbia, Albrighton, Bent, Agbonlahor, Heskey, Beye, Makoun, Ireland, Bannan, Beye, Clark.

PA

Sport
The sun rises over St Andrews golf course, but will it be a new dawn for the Royal and Ancient Golf Club?
sportAnd it's Yes to women (at the R&A)
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
tvSeries celebrates 20th anniversary
Sport
Yaya Touré (left) and Bayern Munich’s Spanish defender Juan Bernat
footballToure's lack of defensive work is big problem for City
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
Wembley Stadium
footballNews follows deal with Germany
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week