Fabian Delph has defended his decision to sign a five-year deal with Manchester City less than a week after publicly committing his future to Aston Villa.
Delph called off a proposed moved to the Etihad Stadium last weekend and issued a statement in which he insisted: "I'm not leaving. I'm staying at the football club and I can't wait for the start of the season and captaining this great football club."
But the 25-year-old had a change of heart on Friday and, after completing a medical at City, he prepared 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."
Delph added that he was "immensely proud" to have been granted the honor of wearing the captain's armband by Villa boss Tim Sherwood earlier this season – but he is set to a face a stormy reception on his first trip back to Villa Park.
In a further twist, Delph later cited the opinions of Micah Richards – who left City to go in the opposite direction to Villa last month – as one of the reasons for his change of heart.
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."