Fabian Delph earned his first England cap last night in the 1-0 victory over Norway at Wembley. He is the first Villa player to make an appearance for the England national side since the days when Young, Downing and Bent were in their prime at Villa.
This could be the start of something special for the claret and blue of Aston Villa and a building block for some of our other English players, who will look up to Delph and start pushing for places in the national squad themselves.
We have already signed an England regular in Tom Cleverley. He is someone who I believe could easily earn his place in Hodgson’s squad back after a fresh spell at Villa and a regular run of games. England’s midfield looks very weak and, with the likes of Jack Wilshere regularly underperforming for his country, there is room for more midfielders to enter the fray. They may come from clubs outside the top seven.
Another player who I feel is not far off his first call-up to the national side is Ashley Westwood. As holding midfielders and players who can keep possession go, there are none better than Westwood in the Premier League. I believe he is one of the more underrated players in our squad and, with a bit more pushing, he may find himself on Roy Hodgson’s radar.
With the addition of Tom Cleverley to the Villa squad, the midfield three of Delph, Westwood and Cleverley will thrive with such experience (and now two England internationals alongside one another). With a bit of guidance from one another, there is no reason why two, if not all three, of them could become regulars in the current England squad.
It will be hard for both Delph and Westwood to break into the squad as they are relatively low key players, particularly at national level. However, Delph’s pace and ability to start a counter in midfield and Westwood’s assurance and ability to keep possession make them both players suited to the England squad, offering different but complementary skills that I believe the England squad seriously lacks, particularly the pace element.
Over the last few seasons, there was talk of both Agbonlahor and Matt Lowton being considered for England selection so we have always had players on the fringe but not quite making it on to the national stage. We are a club known for having international players in its ranks – and that includes Englishmen – so why not continue this tradition?
Could this be the breakthrough year for the Villans in terms of international recognition? Could we see two or maybe three of our squad members making the step up to the England squad? Let’s hope so.