Delph thriving alongside Petrov
Aston Villa midfielder Fabian Delph is thrilled to have been given the chance to learn his trade alongside Bulgaria star Stiliyan Petrov.
The 21-year-old midfielder won rave reviews for his performance alongside Petrov in Saturday's 3-1 Barclays Premier League victory over Blackburn, and will head into Tuesday's Carling Cup second round clash with Hereford more than happy with his lot.
He told AVTV: "Stiliyan is tremendous. I have learned so much from him. He is a great captain. He is brilliant. He is the skipper and he does the job better than anyone."
He added: "He's played hundreds and hundreds of games at the highest level. He's so experienced and I'm learning loads from him.
"I'm speaking to him. He's speaking to me. There's a good understanding developing there and long may that continue."
Former Leeds player Delph has had to contend with his fair share of injury misery since arriving at Villa Park in August 2009, but a run of good health has seen him make a fine start to the new campaign.
The 21-year-old and Petrov provided the midfield solidity which allowed Gabriel Agbonlahor, Emile Heskey and Darren Bent to find the back of the net at the weekend and send Villa into Tuesday's cup tie in excellent spirits.
Agbonlahor was another to catch the eye as Blackburn wilted, and manager Alex McLeish has high hopes for the 24-year-old after asking him to change his game as he attempted to accommodate all the attacking talent at his disposal.
McLeish said: "When I first came to the club, I wondered what had happened to him last season, and how I could get guys like him and Bent in the same team.
"The answer is for Gabby to learn new tricks and he's had to adapt to a different position, and he's been fantastic for the team over the last couple of games."