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McLeish wants Delph to prove worth

New Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish has challenged midfielder Fabian Delph to start living up to his £6 million price tag.

• Villa reject Downing bid

Delph, 20, was signed by former boss Martin O'Neill in the summer of 2009 after only one full season in professional football. There is the chance he could be loaned to a Championship club for first team experience.

The former Leeds United player has struggled with injuries throughout his time at Villa Park, starting only eight Premier League games and making a total of 22 appearances in two years.

McLeish said: "I think it's time for Fabian Delph to show the reason why Villa invested a decent sum of money on a very young player.

"The challenge is there for Fabian. He can certainly tackle as well as pass the ball. He's got that quality. He's got a determined attitude and believes in himself.

"We'll get a good idea in pre-season and will assess him then. I have to assess if he is ready for the Premier League.

"But for him, after his injury problems, to get a full season would be a massive boost to his mental toughness.''

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