Delph must keep learning – O’Neill

The 18-year-old moved to Villa Park from Leeds in a £6million

move last summer, but has failed to set the Premier League alight

after the jump from League One. O’Neill admits the youngster’s

rashness when tackling is a particular problem even in training,

but he has faith Delph will eventually make the grade. O’Neill told

The People: “Occasionally he has to be reminded that I need the

players here. I don’t need him putting four boys in the treatment

room to prove that he can tackle – he has to save that for match

day. “On the pitch he leaves the foot in and he’s competitive. He’s

not shy of putting a challenge in, for someone so slight. “So from

that score, I wouldn’t have a problem with him. It’s one thing to

keep that attitude, and another to curb it because you are liable

to get booked once or twice. “More importantly, as of this minute,

he hasn’t actually really learned the art of tackling properly so

he leaves his body open to being injured. “I don’t want to knock

any aggression out of him because that is part of his make-up. The

other one is not to be going in in a manner that is almost

dangerous to yourself. “I’m talking about the technique

challenging, he’ll go in regardless of safety for himself, where

the more experienced players will go in and make sure that they are

well enough protected.” Delph’s confidence at Villa took a knock

almost immediately on his Premier League debut against Wigan on the

opening day of the season in a 2-0 defeat. The midfielder has been

restricted to just two league starts since, one of which came in

their midweek 1-1 draw against Manchester United, and O’Neill

admits lack of action has been tough on the teenager. “I’ve got

faith in him, I know that he can play and he’ll be a proper player

in the next 18 months,” said O’Neill, who remains confident in the

money he spent. “His biggest problem is that he’s gone from playing

60 or 70 consecutive games for Leeds to playing intermittently

here. “He’s learned to cope with that and I’m hoping between now

and the end of the season that he’ll get his fair share of outings,

because we will need him.” O’Neill added: “Then I think you’ll see

a bit more quality from him, particularly next year.”