World Cup has been real Fab says Delph

Manchester Evening News - - WORLD CUP - By SIMON PEACH

FABIAN Delph says be­ing part of England’s World Cup ad­ven­ture is the high­light of his ca­reer - and hopes this sum­mer is just the be­gin­ning.

Few could have fore­seen Gareth South­gate’s men get­ting to the semi-fi­nals in Rus­sia, just as few would have pre­dicted at the start of the sea­son the 28-year-old would be in­volved.

Yet Delph flour­ished for ti­tle-win­ning City as a makeshift left-back and has been one of the lead­ers of a group now pre­par­ing for to­day’s third-place play-off against Bel­gium.

The dis­ap­point­ment not to be fac­ing France in to­mor­row’s final is clear, as is the York­shire­man’s pride at the end of a cam­paign to re­mem­ber.

“For me per­son­ally it’s been a fan­tas­tic sea­son,” said Delph, who briefly re­turned home for the birth of his third daugh­ter.

“I man­aged to play quite a lot of foot­ball and in a po­si­tion that I’ve never played be­fore, so it was a learn­ing sea­son. A very en­joy­able one.

“In terms of my de­vel­op­ment, I feel like I have a lot of de­vel­op­ment to do, a lot of ar­eas that I can work at.

“It’s very im­por­tant to be play­ing reg­u­lar foot­ball be­cause if not you lose your dis­tances, your tim­ing - you start to ba­si­cally get older and fade away, so this sea­son has been a great sea­son for me per­son­ally.

“And to get into the World Cup squad has been the high­light of my ca­reer.

“I’ve thor­oughly en­joyed it and I think when I get time to go home and sit down and talk to the fam­ily, there’ll be a lot of mem­o­ries that I’ll keep close to my heart.

“Hope­fully, I can con­tinue to keep play­ing in the Manch­ester City team and keep get­ting in the England squads.”

Delph is set to start against Bel­gium in St Peters­burg to­day, when England can be­come the se­cond-most suc­cess­ful team in the na­tional side’s history should they win. To­geth­er­ness will again be key if Bel­gium are to be de­feated, with the kin­ship within the squad this sum­mer mir­ror­ing life at club level.

“I think I’ve men­tioned a few times that the feel­ing I have at Manch­ester City, the en­ergy, the trust that we have got within our camp, is quite iden­ti­cal to what I’ve felt since I’ve been in this England camp,” Delph added.

“The en­ergy is fan­tas­tic. There’s a lot of young play­ers, as there are at Manch­ester City.

“Every­body seems to be fear­less, go­ing in the same di­rec­tion, and it’s quite sim­i­lar.

“It felt like I was leav­ing club foot­ball to join up with club foot­ball again, if you like.

“I thor­oughly en­joyed it. It’s al­ways an hon­our to play for your coun­try and to do it with a bunch of lads that are such good lads and to go as far as we’ve gone...

“We’ve not quite done it, but it’s been a fan­tas­tic ex­pe­ri­ence for me per­son­ally and I think it’ll stand us in good stead for the fu­ture.”

City’s Fabian Delph is set to play for England to­day

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