Fabian Delph Interview
by David Gilbank
When it comes to the words ‘home-grown talent’, there’s probably no one in local football that fits the bill like Leeds United Wunderkind, Fabian Delph.
Born in Bradford and from an early age taken in to the renowned Elland Road football nursery, Delph is ‘home-grown’ in every sense – a West Yorkshire lad, born and raised. The ‘talent’ part though, is what makes him really special. Recent comparisons between him and the late Leeds and Arsenal legend David Rocastle, are not without merit.
At just 18, his natural ability to take-on and evade defenders has resulted in him picking up five man-of-the-match awards in just his first seven home match appearances. That’s pretty special, to say the least. Yet, unlike your stereotypical footballers who get caught up in all the bling, hype and trappings that come with being the next-big-thing, young Fabian is refreshingly grateful for the opportunities given to him at Leeds.
“I owe everything to this club” he explains earnestly. “This is where I learned my trade and where I’ve grown up.” Obviously, such extraordinary talent has attracted interest from Premier League Clubs, yet Fabian is again at pains to stress his loyalty to the club that nurtured him from a young age.
“The club put me in digs and put cotton wool around me and looked after me. This is the club I want to play for and want to be at.” Of course, being a midfielder at Leeds has its own special benefit – it’s the gaffer’s old position and the England Youth Team member has reaped the benefits.
“Gary McAllister is always talking to me and giving me pointers. He was a great player and it’s great to play under him.”
When asked about his stunning man-of-the-match record, Delph is typically self-deprecating. Again, a refreshing and somewhat surprising response from a young football star.
“I’ve had a lot of great managers”
“I don’t know how I’ve had five,” he explains with a laugh. “But I must be doing well so I am happy. I’ve had a lot of great managers right from when I was playing in the juniors and a lot of my success is down to them. I’m buzzing and really enjoying things.”
Speculation that he might one day pull on the England shirt doesn’t seem to affect his outlook at all. In fact, it seems to help him focus on Leeds’s hopes for promotion.
“Hopefully we can get a few more wins, and with the great Leeds supporters cheering us on, it will be just like the old days.”
The club refutes any suggestion that they might sell Delph to a big-spending Premier League outfit. But it remains to be seen whether Leeds could – or even should – resist the temptation to make a huge return on their investment. While he might not be crucial to Leeds’s quest for a glorious return to the upper divisions, judging by his performances so far this season, the young star must be an important factor in the manager’s strategy. And more importantly, the promotional aspirations of the club’s long-suffering fans.
Editor’s Update: Since this interview took place, Leeds have sold Fabian Delph to Aston Villa for £6m in 2009. He currently plays for Manchester City. He made his England debut in 2014.
Main image courtesy of Vilnietis at Wikimedia Commons