Writer: Mike Field
Date:Sunday February 14 2010
Martin O'Neill has said that Fabian Delph has got a lot to learn before he reaches the obvious potential he has and becomes a top player.
We've seen and heard recently that Delph is his own biggest critic, dissecting his own performances after matches on DVD and so on, but Monny has joined the club following his Man Utd performance and picked out his 'rash' tackling as a cause of concern.
Personally I can't see the fuss, and whilst it's admirable that Delph hasn't let his big money move and no doubt the great boost to his bank balance go to his head by constantly wanting to improve, in the few short chances he's had so far I'd have called him impressive, and his 'rash' tackling as it were a sight for sore eyes in a game thesedays where 'putting your foot in' fairly, but hard, seems to be frowned upon because some baby might break a nail.
In quotes given to the Sunday People, Monny said Delph's eye for a challenge can be an issue in training as he seeks to impress and put himself in the position for more match time.
'Occasionally he has to be reminded that I need the players here. I don't need him putting four boys in the treatment room to prove he can tackle - he has to save that for match day.'
Am I the only one who has visions of him flooring John Carew when they have a kick around?
It seems Monny's real concern isn't that Delph likes a tackle, he just wants him to learn the 'time and the place' for dragging down his opponent and learn the 'art' of tackling properly.
'I wouldn't have a problem with him, it's one thing to keep that attitude, and another to curb it because you are liable to get booked once or twice.
'More importantly, he hasn't actually really learned the art of tackling properly so he leaves his body open to being injured.'
Not sure there's an art myself, the theory of going in hard and firm and winning the ball seems to be all there is to it. Least that worked in the old days but they do say the modern game is different. O'Neill also praises his attitude and desire for winning the ball in commenting that Delph at the moment will go into challenges without thinking of his own safety, whereas more experienced players make sure they are protected first.
His desire to win the ball and be competitive outshines everything else. again I don't think that's a bad thing myself. He'll be playing the way he did at Leeds and we know in leagues lower you get less time, games are generally more scrappy, so somewhere along the lines Delph has learnt to protect himself in tackles and whilst I fully understand O'Neill not wanting the lad to end up injured just as he gets a head of steam in the first team, from where I stand given his performances so far I'd be happy to see him learn on the pitch and learn by his own mistakes.
It's what all the great players do, and there is definitely something about Delph as very few players of his age can come into a match like the United one, look far better than 'their' stars and be so sorely missed when subbed at halftime.
Not having seen him at Leeds I didn't get what all the fuss was about to begin with - if Delph can however get a proper run in the team now and perform consistently to the level we've seen in flashes I actually think he could make things complicated when it comes to Player of the Season time.
O'Neill makes no such suggestions obviously, however he does end the interview saying that he expects Delph to reach his potential in the next 18 months and more importantly 'you'll see a bit more quality from him, particularly next year.'
Given what we've seen so far, the fact from his Leeds days we know he has an eye for goal, Milner was in many ways the missing link in midfield, so Delph could well be the icing on the cake. A proper striker in the summer OR Delfouneso getting his shot properly and showing he can make a difference regularly, it could be very interesting indeed.
Afterall Delph looks capable of getting potentially 10 goals a season himself, and even just 5 goals this season could've given us an extra 10 points.
Date:Sunday February 14 2010
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