There was a distinctive and familiar Delap running style as Liam Delap charged around in the PL Cup final. Except Liam, it’s fair to say, is a bit quicker than his dad Rory, the Stoke hero.
Delap Jr led the line intelligently and aggressively against Stoke City, bagging the decisive second goal that sparked a ruthless 14-minute rout in which he set up two more.
The England youth international, who turned 17 last month, joined Man City from Derby County last summer and has already played for the club’s under-23 team.
And he’s been scoring and making goals all season.
He is a mixture of pace and power, skill and intelligence and that is a pretty fierce combination. And he’s aggressive too.
“It’s always been a part of my game. I need it in my game,” he said in an interview with the Manchester Evening News.
“When I’m on that edge it’s when I’m at my best, it’s just not tipping over that edge and everyone has told me that they’d never want to take it out of me, it’s just controlling that final tipping point of what is acceptable and what’s not.
“You can’t really teach it, it’s just something I have and I’m so grateful that I’ve got it but it’s just now working a mechanism that I can control it to keep myself on the pitch.
“I’ve got a lot better. I was a lot worse when I was younger so I think it’s just maturing and understanding what’s right.”
Delap Jr is 6ft 1in, a similar height to his old man who is now a Stoke coach working alongside Michael O’Neill – with both in the stands last night.
And it a back injury actually helped him hone those natural attributes.
He said: “My pace and my power are my two biggest strengths. My strength helps me a lot to get into goalscoring opportunities. When I’m in those I can finish most of the time.
“I’ve always been quite fast but I had a bad back injury about two to three years ago so I was in the gym loads then and got a lot of my strength. I’ve got faster through that because I couldn’t play football so I just worked on that and that helped a lot. It was just working through it, making sure I did everything right to make sure I came out better at the other end of it.
“I’ve always been one of the tall ones in the group, I’m 6ft 1in. I had a scan on my foot and my growth plates but I usually grow in the summer so I might grow, I might not. Hopefully!”
Delap Jr was growing up as his dad was helping Stoke establish themselves in the Premier League, supplying ammunition for Ricardo Fuller et al and winning world fame for his brilliant long throw.
But if he’s looking for inspiration from a front man, it’s not from Stoke or Man City or even Derby.
He said: “In the past you look at Man City’s strikers and they’re small and technical but I think I’m just a different player. It works well for me because I am different and I can show myself even more. It’s good.
“I’ve always looked up to Cristiano Ronaldo. Just the way he plays, the pace and the power. For me, he’s the best in the world so aspiring to someone who is the best in the world, your dreams just have to be high.
“Listening to people that he’s worked with, the extras and lengths that he goes to look after his body and get better every day just shows why he’s at the top level. You can have talent but talent on its own doesn’t work without effort.”