Fabian Delph says his team-mates were shocked when he stayed at Aston Villa

Villa chief executive Tom Fox played a key role in convincing Delph to stay

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The Independent Online

Fabian Delph has admitted his Aston Villa team-mates were shocked to hear he had signed a new deal.

On Sunday the England midfielder penned a four-and-a-half-year contract to commit himself to the club until 2019. He would have been out of contract in the summer and had been linked with a move away from the Premier League strugglers, who have battled against relegation for the last three years. Manager Paul Lambert called it a coup for Villa and Delph revealed even the squad was surprised.

“The lads are absolutely delighted. As soon as I told some of them they looked at me shocked to start with,” he said. “They see a lot in me and how dedicated I am and how I want to push on. They’re delighted to keep someone like me here. I see them as family, brothers, I’d run through a brick wall for them. They’re not just team-mates.”

The Villa chief executive, Tom Fox, who was lured from Arsenal in August and given full control of Villa’s future direction, played a key role in convincing Delph to stay and believes the 25-year-old has bought into his vision. “We are so pleased to keep one of our best young players. It says a lot about him too and his faith,” said Fox.

“This club is on a journey and it’s my job to talk to as many people and convince them it’s not where we are.

“Fabian and I have had many conversations and he believes in this journey. There were a lot of interested clubs. We’ve got a top young player here.”