Pundit claims Carlo Ancelotti has a ‘massively under-rated’ player in Everton midfielder Fabian Delph
Tom Cleverley has claimed in a Q&A for Watford’s club website that Carlo Ancelotti has a ‘massively under-rated’ player at Everton in Fabian Delph.
Cleverly played with Delph while on loan at Aston Villa for the 2014/15 season and helped the Birmingham-based outfit to narrowly stave off the threat of relegation from the Premier League by finishing the term just three points above the drop zone.
Despite their side’s lacklustre form under Paul Lambert and later Tim Sherwood, Delph would leave Villa Park at the end of the season to join Manchester City, where he won two Premier League titles, an FA Cup, three Carabao Cups and the Community Shield.
Delph also broke into the England set-up before moving to the Etihad Stadium and would become a regular for the Three Lions until 2019, having been plagued by injuries since joining Everton that summer in a £10million (BBC) deal.
His issues with fitness have restricted the 31-year-old to make just 30 appearances across all competitions for the Toffees over the past two years, including eight in the Premier League this season of which he started just twice under Ancelotti.
Yet Cleverly feels Delph is up there with former Manchester United teammate Michael Carrick for who he enjoyed playing with the most outside of Watford, and that the perennially injured Blues midfielder does not receive the respect he deserves.
“I’d say it’s a close one between Fabian Delph and Michael Carrick,” Cleverley said.
“Delph is a massively under-rated player – he went on to win two Premier Leagues at Man City, but maybe doesn’t get the recognition for how good he is. As for Carrick, I played a lot of games with him during some of the most successful years of my career, so he’d be up there too.”
Delph enjoyed a trophy-laden spell at Man City and became a regular for England for a reason as the midfielder was a talented player in those systems, but has struggled to show that at Everton as they have never truly been able to rely on the 31-year-old staying fit.
Pep Guardiola once claimed via the Express that ‘you cannot be the England captain and help the team if you are not a good guy’ and stressed that ‘Fabian is an important player for us’, but it is the injuries more than the talent that sees that he is under-appreciated in Cleverley’s opinion.
If Delph had been able to stay fit this season instead of featuring in only 15 of Ancelotti’s 38 Premier League squads, he may have been able to help Everton avoid their collapse in form that meant they ended the season without European football despite showing much promise early on.