Ex-City star convinced me - Delph
Fabian Delph has revealed the advice of former Manchester City star Micah Richards convinced him to reverse an earlier decision to commit his future to Aston Villa.
Delph signed a five-year contract with City on Friday, less than a week after he issued a strongly-worded statement to insist his future remained with Tim Sherwood's men.
And in a bizarre twist the 25-year-old revealed how the words of Richards - who last month went in the opposite direction from the Etihad to Villa Park - helped him make up his mind to perform a U-turn.
In an interview on City's official website, Delph said: "I spoke with Joe Hart when I was with him for England and he was always been telling me how the club has come on and what City are trying to achieve - and Micah Richards told me that as far as he is concerned, this is the best club in the world and he had the time of his life here."
After completing a medical on Friday, Delph was preparing to fly to Australia to join his new team-mates on their pre-season tour.
In a statement issued to Press Association Sport, Delph maintained his initial decision to stay at Villa was an emotional rather than career decision and quickly became one he began to regret.
Delph said: "My decision to stay initially was purely based on the emotion and feelings that I hold for the club and the people there that I would be walking away from - rather than looking at the football opportunity that had been placed in front of me.
"I've experienced some incredible low times in my career with injuries and at one point even questioned whether I would even return to Premiership level. Despite that, I've always been 100 per cent committed to improving my game and developing as a player and a person.
"As a kid watching the game on TV and then as a young footballer you dream about testing yourself against the best in the world, to compete for major trophies and to play in the Champions League.
I've proved that I can play at the very top level with England and believe I owe it to myself to take the challenge of playing for one of the biggest clubs in the world in Manchester City."
But Delph will be braced for a backlash, with former Villa striker Stan Collymore labelling his decision to leave "an absolute disgrace".
Speaking before the deal was officially confirmed, Collymore told talkSport's Drive programme : "He (Delph) said twice now that he wants to stay at the club - nobody put a gun to his head.
"He said twice that he believes Villa is a great club that he wants to stay at...if he signs for Manchester City or any other club in the next few days then he's an absolute disgrace."