sport

Delph plays down England talk

Aston Villa midfielder Fabian Delph admits it would be a dream to play for England, but has played down his chances of gatecrashing Roy Hodgson's World Cup plans.

Former Leeds youngster Delph has been tipped for a call-up to the England squad after catching the eye for Aston Villa this season.

Delph enhanced his claims for a call-up with an all-action display and winning goal against Chelsea last weekend, but the former England Under 21 international concedes the World Cup might come too soon for a senior call-up.

Asked if he felt he deserved an England call-up, Delph said: "That's not down to me to say.

"My job's just to try to perform my best for my club. I think it's in every player's head and it's every player's ambition to represent their country but I think I might be a bit away from that.

"There seems to be a lot of quality midfield players that are English that are probably above me at the minute. I'll keep grafting and maybe one day."

Delph believes he is now showing his best form at Villa after admitting the start to his Villa career following his arrival from Leeds in 2009 was "dreadful".

"I think every player is their own worst critic but I'm just realistic," added Delph.

"I'm just being honest. The start of my career here was dreadful. It was down to injuries, it's not something I could have helped.

"Probably the worst injury you can get in football is your anterior cruciate ligament. I also did my lateral meniscus and my medial as well.

"It's been a tough road but Alan Smith, the physio, has been with me side by side ever since.

''I've had great fitness coaches that have helped me in the past. I've just picked up little bits from everybody and managed to find the right balance.

"I train every day. I haven't missed a day's training since the gaffer's been here, unless I've been ill. To get over the injuries, basically it's just pure graft and pure hard work, starting at 9am, finishing at 3pm."