“Can they do it on a cold, wet, and windy night at Stoke?” will always be one of the most memorable phrases in Premier League history.
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Well, let me tell you about Rory Delap, a player who did well in those terrible conditions, who had a great throw-in, and who the streets will never forget.
Before making a name for himself in the Premier League with Stoke, Delap had to face every ambitious football player’s worst fear.
I’m being honest, I didn’t think I’d make it. I’ve always tried to get ahead, but I’ve never been one of those people who was born with natural talent.
“If you’ve ever watched me play, you know that everything was hard and a task. I’ll be honest: I never thought I was the best player at school, at Carlisle, or anywhere else.
“I think that trying to be like that and getting close to people I thought were better than me helped me in my career.
“Whether I was good enough to play in the Premier League or not, I always thought I had the drive, determination, and work ethic to get there. I think I played in the Premier League for 12 years.”
During his time in the Premier League, Delap was feared all over the country, maybe not for what he could do with the ball at his feet but for what he could do with it in his hands.
“After that, I joined a sports club in Carlisle. I was a pretty good runner, but javelin was my real strength, so I did that from 11 to 15 or 16.
“Then I won the county championship, and some people said I’d have a chance if I took it seriously, but football was my first love.