LEEDS UNITED caretaker head coach Neil Redfearn has hailed Fabian Delph’s rise to international prominence - while praising England manager Roy Hodgson’s bravery in handing him a full debut on Monday night.
Bradford-born Delph was handed his first start for the Three Lions’ in their Euro 2016 qualifying opener against Switzerland in Basel, with the 24-year-old lining up alongside Everton’s Barnsley-born defender John Stones - as both made their tournaments bows for the nation.
Both helped England start their qualification programme in the best possible fashion in a 2-0 victory over Swiss, with the game ending with another White Rose-born player in James Milner on the pitch along with South Yorkshireman Gary Cahill.
Redfearn, who managed Delph when he returned for a loan spell to Leeds from Aston Villa in early 2012, says that Delph’s full international debut represents a feather in the cap of United, who agreed a compensation deal with the midfielder’s hometown club Bradford to take him to the club when he was an 11-year-old in 2001.
Redfearn said: “It is good for the club as well to see a lad like Fabian come through the system and get full international recognition, that is fantastic.
“He has been brilliant; what a great kid as well. He is one of ours really and it’s a fantastic achievement and he had a great game on Monday night.
“He played right on the edge a little bit and was competitive and that competitive edge gets you over the line.
“Fabian has been bubbling away and he must have crossed people’s minds before and to be fair to Roy Hodgson, he had the strength of character to put him in a big qualifying game.
“He could have easily had him on the bench, so Roy must take credit for that.”