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Fabian Delph Has Been Aston Villa's Star but England Call Would Be Too Soon

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Fabian Delph Has Been Aston Villa's Star but England Call Would Be Too Soon
(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Aston Villa's topsy-turvy start to the season has featured massive highs—such as beating the likes of Arsenal and Manchester City—as well as a number of low points.

But Fabian Delph's impressive performance has been one of the few consistencies.

The combative midfielder has finally taken on the responsibility of marshalling the midfield and has been Villa's most outstanding player this campaign—but any talks of an England call-up are premature.

The Bradford-born midfielder has played every minute of his side's nine Premier League fixtures this term and has gained massive praise from the Villa faithful, the press and TV experts.

Delph was key in Villa's surprise 3-1 win over current league leaders Arsenal on the opening day of the season and has looked completely comfortable when facing some of the league's toughest midfield partnerships.

He has stood up well against the likes of Jack Wilshere and Mikel Arteta, Frank Lampard and Ramires as well as Yaya Toure and Fernandinho, but such accolades aren't yet worthy of an England call-up.

The 23-year-old undoubtedly has many of the right attributes to warrant a place in the national side and, if he continues in the rich vein of form, is sure to be given the nod by Roy Hodgson in the future. There are, however, a number of concerns that one would have—especially if one was of an English persuasion—if Delph were to feature for the Three Lions at this point in his career.

The all-action midfielder's early Villa career was blighted by injuries following his move from Leeds United in 2009, but during many of his subsequent appearances, a question mark has loomed large over his temperament.

/Getty Images

Delph's passion and desire to win can often be misconstrued as over-zealousness and petulance—something that is magnified by his poor disciplinary record.

According to Squawka, he has won an average of 70 per cent of his duels in the Premier League this season, so is effective in his tackles, but he often cuts a rather frustrated figure and is a regular in referees' notebooks.

Not something you'd expect of a senior England international, especially with three vital group-stage games of the 2014 World Cup drawing ever nearer.

As well as Delph's poor disciplinary record, a tendency to become distracted could also inhibit his chances of featuring for Hodgson's side. Villa boss Paul Lambert has recently expressed his desire to err on the side of caution after being questioned as to whether Delph would be offered a new contract at Villa Park.

As James Nursey wrote in the Daily Mail, the Scot stated that a new deal would not be forthcoming, just in case it disrupted the midfielder's form.

He still has a good bit to go on his current contract. That will be something we look at down the line a little bit.

At the moment he is enjoying his football and playing really well. There is no need for me to disrupt that.

He is competing well against every opponent but he has to maintain that.

Furthermore, whilst Delph's performances in the heart of the Villa midfield have been encouraging this campaign—with impressive stats to back the hype—he simply is not yet reaching the levels of his compatriots that are selected for the national side on a regular basis.

Fabian Delph stats v England rivals
Delph Carrick Gerrard Lampard Wilshere
Avg. Passing Accuracy 82% 87% 85% 85% 84%
Avg. Shooting Accuracy 25% 100% 60% 46% 50%
Goals Scored 0 0 2 1 2
Avg. Duels Won 70% 67% 63% 58% 55%
Chances Created 7 12 19 9 12

www.squawka.com

The Villa man's average passing accuracy throughout the nine games this term is an impressive 82 per cent, though that puts him behind each of the four preferred midfielders in Hodgson's side. Captain Steven Gerrard has an average accuracy of 85 per cent on his passes—as does Chelsea's Frank Lampard. Arsenal's Jack Wilshere is currently reaching 84 per cent, whilst Michael Carrick tops the list with 87 per cent.

And in terms of creativity, Delph is also bottom of the pile with just seven chances created for teammates.

Unsurprisingly, his defensive endeavour and success in duels is superior to each of the aforementioned men, which gives strength to the arguments of those calling for his name to be in Hodgson's next squad.

One outstanding statistic shouldn't be enough to convince the England boss, though, and with a poor goalscoring record to his name, he will surely be overlooked once again.

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