Croatia win shows Fabian Delph can be a key man for England

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Are England genuine contenders to win major tournaments now? Their comeback win against Croatia on Sunday suggests they just might be.

That victory secured top spot of their Nations League group ahead of Spain and Croatia. The Three Lions are currently 5/2 second-favourites behind Portugal (9/4) to go all the way in next summer’s Nation League Finals.

One of the most exciting things about England’s progress under Gareth Southgate is how many options he now has. And Fabian Delph did his efforts of nailing down a central midfield spot no harm with his displays over the international break.

Grabbed His Chance

Manchester City’s All or Nothing documentary highlighted what a big presence Delph can be in the dressing room. But it’s his football that did the talking last week.

The Manchester City midfielder captained the side in the friendly win over the USA on Thursday. He was expected to drop out for Jordan Henderson against Croatia, but the Liverpool captain wasn’t fit enough to feature.

That meant Delph started in a midfield trio with Eric Dier and Ross Barkley. Dier shielded the back four, Barkley looked to shape play in the final third, leaving Delph to shuttle from box to box.

Pep’s Influence

The 28-year-old has always played with real energy. His time playing for Pep Guardiola at City has really brought his passing game on too.

He’s ideal for the possession-based approach Southgate has brought in and the Bradford-born midfielder knitted everything together in the middle of the park.

He was happy to take the ball from the defenders and get moves going. He constantly looked to provide options with his runs forward too.

There’s plenty of competition for a central midfield spot in the England side. As well as Dier, Barkley and Alli, there’s Harry Winks, Adam Lallana, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and more.

The national team don’t play again now until March. But Delph has put himself at the forefront of Southgate’s plans with his displays over the last two games.

All Odds and Markets correct as of date of publication

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Daniel Anwar

Daniel has covered sports for Squawka, FourFourTwo and iSportconnect. He is a naively optimistic Arsenal fan and is also passionate about music, film and chicken wings.