Man United to use Villa match as midfield scouting mission

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Aston Villa star Fabian Delph was recently glowing in his praise for England team-mate Michael Carrick but the 25-year-old could yet replace his international colleague at Old Trafford.

The Red Devils host the Villans this weekend and boss Louis van Gaal will use the match as an opportunity to run the rule over Tim Sherwood’s star man.

The Dutchman’s pursuit of midfield talent is well documented and Delph’s impressive displays for club and country this term have seen him emerge as a potential successor to Carrick.

Van Gaal is a huge admirer of Carrick’s and was distraught when the experienced campaigner was sidelined earlier this season.

It’s easy to see why, with United’s upturn in form coinciding with the 33-year-old’s return to first team action.

Speaking to The FA’s official webiste after England’s recent 4-0 win over Lithuania Delph explained that he can see his game improving under Carrick’s tutelage.

“He is a great guy, he has been great with me and it was pleasure to play with him the other night,” Delph said.

“He is calm in possession, great on the ball and he is an experienced head. It’s definitely going to help me playing with him.”

Carrick may be a calming influence on the United midfield but he is in the twilight of his career and with the FA determined to push Premier League clubs toward higher quotas of home-grown players, Delph could be the ideal replacement for the former West Ham and Tottenham star.

Van Gaal is rumoured to have a £150m budget to spend this summer as he bids to once again get United challenging for the title and while speculation persists that either Gareth Bale or Cristiano Ronaldo are the primary targets Delph could prove a shrewd acquisition.

The chance to train alongside Carrick on a weekly basis and eventually replace him in the United team could well persuade Delph to set his Leeds United affiliation to one side to realise his big club potential.

United are the 3/10 favourites to beat the Villans, with the visitors priced at 9/1 to claim all three points.

Any upset though would likely come as the result of a starring role from Delph, which would only boost his chances of earning a move.

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