Aston Villa boss Tim Sherwood has insisted that the team may not have kept their Premier League status last season had Fabian Delph not been in the team.
Delph has been receiving glowing praise from Sherwood this weekend after the midfielder turned down a potential transfer to Manchester City, and the Villa boss has moved to further explain how vital the 25-year-old is to his side.
"Fabian is a leader. I could go as much as to say that if Fabian wasn't with us last season we wouldn't be in the Premier League now," Sherwood told the club's official website.
"He's someone I had the ear of. He was very instrumental in what I wanted to do. He knew exactly what I wanted from the team and he drove them on.
"It can't always come from the manager - the instructions - sometimes someone on the pitch needs to translate that information and Fabian certainly did that."
Delph has made 107 senior appearances for Villa, scoring three goals.