Manchester City prospect Liam Delap seems to have it all: pace, power, intelligence, skill and aggression.
But what about the long throw that his dad used for Stoke City to terrorise some of the best defenders in the world?
Well, that will remain a mystery thanks to a mouthy parent at an under-10s game.
“I think he was put off when he was about an under-10!” laughed Delap Sr.
“One of the parents shouted that he was ruining the game when he took a throw and he hasn’t taken one since. I don’t think that will be part of his game.”
He added in an interview with Radio Stoke: “I started in a similar position but I didn’t have his pace or power and it took me a few more chances to put the ball in the back of the net!
“He’s enjoying it and that’s all I’m bothered about. I’ve never pushed him into it but he’s a good lad and if he keeps his head down and works hard, he’ll have a chance in the game.”
Delap Sr was in the stands on Tuesday night when Stoke lost to Delap Jr’s Man City in the PL Cup final.
He was proud for his son, who scored a terrific solo goal and set up two others in a 6-0 win, but gutted for a Stoke side that didn’t show their potenial.
And he is hoping that a couple of youngsters from that Stoke side can work their way into Michael O’Neill’s first team picture before the end of the season.
“I see the work that Rich (Walker, Hibbo (Dave Hibbert), Gaz (Owen), Kev (Russell) and Wade (Elliott), all the lads and all the coaches, sports scientists do in the Academy on a daily basis. I take a real interest in how those lads get on,” he said.
“I’ve formed a bond and relationship with those lads. I always want to see my son do well but I have to be professional about it. I didn’t celebrate his goal… but I was chuffed he scored!
“It’s a difficult one but I felt so bad for the lads because they didn’t perform to where they would expect or where the staff would expect.
“And their heads are down, they’ve done so well to get there, had a good season and still got more to go. It’s about shaking off that disappointment and hopefully one or two start to push for the first team squad and getting involvement between now and the end of the season.”
Stoke had smashed Norwich 8-0 in the quarter-finals and come from behind to beat Chelsea in the semis and have plenty of talent in their camp.
Delap said: “No matter what age or competition you’re in, it’s tough to get to the finals of things and doesn’t happen often. For a club like Stoke to get there is a real achievement. They won’t see it like that this morning or last night but it was an achievement to beat Chelsea in the semi in real difficult weather conditions.
“They’ve had a very good season. A lot have gone out and played senior football on loan too. Rich and Hibbo and Gaz Owen do a lot of work to give them experience of senior football. We’re seeing the benefits of that when they come back.
“They look stronger and they’ve got more game understanding and knowledge in terms of how to win a game of football. It’s not all about that at youth level but it’s important when you make that next step up.”
John Coates puts number on survival figure for Stoke City
Vice-chairman John Coates believes three wins from Stoke’s last nine games – taking them to 51 points – will be enough to save them from relegation.
And he is confident of seeing Michael O’Neill’s men achieve that after being hugely impressed with the manager from day one of his four-and-a-half month tenure.
Martin Smith: I’m calling it right now – Stoke City will not be relegated
Martin Smith’s column this week is an almighty encouraging read.
“That we can be in the top places of the form-since Christmas table and yet still be mathematically embroiled in the midst of a desperate relegation battle bears testament to the sorry mess we were under Nathan Jones and the astonishing recovery we’ve made under Michael O’Neill.
“All we need to do now under our Northern Irish manager is to keep up some semblance of the form he’s already overseen and not only will we avoid relegation this season, but I firmly believe we’ll lay a solid foundation for a much more pronounced improvement next season…”
Michael O’Neill’s summer transfer window challenge at Stoke City in detail
Michael O’Neill will only be looking to tweak his Stoke City squad this summer – on the proviso, of course, that he finishes the job he has started so well and cements the club’s place in the Championship.
It will be a marked change in policy.
Stoke made 10 signings, including three on loan, last summer under Nathan Jones, having made nine the previous summer under Gary Rowett…
How long will Joe Allen be out for Stoke City?
Joe Allen grimly knew he was set for a long spell on the sidelines.
Stoke City’s vice-captain and key man ruptured an Achilles tendon when he stumbled over grounded Dan Batty in the second before half-time of Saturday’s 5-1 win over Hull.
He got back up and limped a few steps before Hull’s Leonardo da Silva Lopes put his arms around him and helped him to the ground. The whistle had gone and Stoke’s medical team ran on.
It seemed so innocuous that most in the bet365 Stadium carried on with the interval as normal until it became obvious this was no mere knock. Allen was strapped into a stretcher and wheeled away down the tunnel.
He underwent surgery on Monday morning to repair the damage.
The 29-year-old will miss the rest of the season and Euro 2020.