sport

Delph relishing England chance

Aston Villa midfielder Fabian Delph believes his England call-up is a reward for the hard work he has done on his fitness.

Delph is one of four uncapped players in Roy Hodgson's squad for the upcoming friendly against Norway and the European qualifier against Switzerland.

He has been recognised for his good form at the start of the season, having got himself in the best possible shape over the past 18 months and only taken a week's holiday in the summer.

"I think physically the intensity of the game is quite frightening," said the 24-year-old. "People seem to be bigger, stronger, quicker and if you go out and have ten pints twice a week you won't have the energy to chase people around.

"I can't be bigger, but I can be stronger and quicker. I'm not the biggest but I feel physically fit and in a good place at the moment.

"I've had some terrible injuries. I know I always go on about it, but I feel really proud to have overcome those injuries and to be playing in one of the toughest leagues in the world.

"It is all about how you prepare and how you train and finding the right balance, and I seem to have done that. Hopefully I can keep going and stay fit."

Delph added: "Maybe the England call-up is a bit of a reward, but the hard work starts again now. I have to go down and train with some top players."

There is a new look to the England squad following the retirements of captain Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard, and Delph is determined to take his chance to shine.

"It would probably have been nice to have those players around to learn from, but it is an opportunity," said Delph.

"I don't think it is so much about taking over from them. They were my heroes growing up, I won't look at it thinking I'm trying to do what they did. They are different type of players to me.

"I just look to give 100 per cent and if it is enough, it is enough. I am not daunted by it, I will go and enjoy it and if it works out then it works out.

"I have had some advice from my team-mates who have been there - Joe Cole, Gabby Agbonlahor, Darren Bent. They all said to just relax, go and enjoy it and do what you do."