Delph relishing new Villa opportunity
Fabian Delph is determined to make up for lost time and finally justify the £6 million price tag Aston Villa paid for him three years ago.
Delph, 22, was one of the most coveted young players in the game when Martin O'Neill persuaded him to leave Leeds United for Villa Park in 2009.
Unfortunately the midfielder suffered a ruptured cruciate ligament shortly after his arrival and has since struggled to cement a first-team spot, making just 28 appearances in three seasons, under five different managers since joining the club.
However, Paul Lambert's arrival in the summer has coincided with the former England Under-21 international emerging from the shadows to force his way back into contention and Delph is determined to make the most of his latest opportunity.
"I feel good and I feel stronger than I have in the past," Delph said. "I started the season then ended up out of the team, but I've been working hard and managed to get back in.
"I'm pleased with that but I want to push on, do better and have a lot more of an impact than I have done. I had a good run last year but I wasn't fully fit. I am now and it is nice.
"People judge you when you get a run of games in the team and it is nice to be judged when you are fully fit."
Delph feels he is clear of the injuries and frustrations which have blighted his time at Villa and is working overtime under Lambert, even during the international break, to take his game to a new level.
The vast majority of Villa's squad are away on international duty, but Delph is refusing to let up in his own bid to maintain the fitness levels which have given him the chance to make an impact so far this season.
"The international breaks happen and there are less people in training," he added. "I just get on with it and treat it like a normal week. The gaffer gives us a few days off to recuperate but the days that we are in are quite tough."