'He's outstanding' - Southgate hails Delph and highlights England's strength in depth

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The Man City star has earned the right to captain an experimental national side on Thursday, according to the Three Lions boss

Gareth Southgate praised Fabian Delph for his "outstanding" leadership qualities after confirming he will captain England against the United States on Thursday.

Manchester City man Delph will wear the armband for the first time on his 17th senior appearance before he passes it to Wayne Rooney, who is due to come on as a substitute for a farewell appearance.

Southgate plans to give young and less experienced players the chance to impress at Wembley, such as 18-year-old Jadon Sancho and uncapped Bournemouth striker Callum Wilson, and he feels Delph will be the ideal figure to lead an experimental side.

"It's important for us because we're England and, every game we play, the level of performance needs to be high," he told a news conference. "We're talking about Wayne, but we'll make some debuts.

"Fabian is captaining his country for the first time and it's a huge moment for him, he's an outstanding player and an outstanding person and a huge leader in our group. You wouldn't give the England captaincy to someone who doesn't have these outstanding attributes.

"That competition for places is really intense and we need that because the challenge since the World Cup has been embraced by the players and we have had some good results against some top teams."

The Three Lions head coach went on to express his belief that the US team will provide the perfect challenge for his young squad, ahead of Sunday's UEFA Nations League fixture against Croatia.

"It's a big night for a lot of players," Southgate continued. "A good opportunity to see some young players, maybe we won't have so much experience, so it will be a good test for those players. 

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"When you see players give everything, even when they are not starting, that is great. We will have some young players involved, but so too will America, who are in a period of transition, so it will be a good test.

"I think we have put young players in no matter what the situation has been. We've played young players in the World Cup and we have played young players in the match [against Spain] in Seville last month. 

"If we believe players are good enough then we will give them their opportunity. The competition for places is really intense and we need that."

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