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Villa v Man City: Delph - The day Petrov took me to the cleaners

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Villa v Man City: Delph - The day Petrov took me to the cleaners


When the 19th minute applause echoes around Villa Park in the game against Manchester City on Monday, Fabian Delph will continue to compete but he will feel like clapping himself.

That's because memories of playing with Stan Petrov are tinged with such joy.

And he feels like his game improved remarkably alongside the all-action midfield ace.

He realised the gulf he had to bridge when he faced Petrov on the training fields of Bodymoor Heath in his first session back in August 2009.

He said: "I was a massive Stan Petrov fan when I arrived at Villa. I was so excited at even training with him.

"I knew all about him. He was an elegant player who worked ridiculously hard. He was the captain of the club.

"I was just really excited to meet him and learn from him. It'd seen his goals, his tackling and his battling. I couldn't wait for that first training session.

"But he took me to school. It was the first session of 11 v 11. We were playing Fiorentina the following day and my mindset was to impress and train the way I had always done, getting amongst people.

"He took me to the cleaners! I couldn't get anywhere near him. It's something I will never forget. It was a massive lesson.

"I learned so much from training with him in those subsequent years. I developed as a midfielder thanks to him.

"He was always so generous with his time and his advice out there on the training field. He was inspirational.

"I still chat to him now. We get on really well. I still bring that first session up with him now. He just smiles!"

Delph, of course, was also excited about working alongside James Milner, a fellow Leeds fan, who he's set to face on Monday when Man City come to town.

He added: "I looked up to Milly. He is a Leeds fan like I am. I remember him coming through the ranks like I did.

"He was in an unbelievable team when they were in the Champions League.

"He was an inspiration to me - and still is.

"I look up to him. He is a role model. Physically he is top notch, he works hard on his game and he's in the gym all the time when he's not playing.

"He runs more than anyone I have ever seen during matches. He covers every blade of grass. I can't wait to face him, if selected."

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AVFC Official
By @AVFCOfficial 2nd March 2013
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