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Born on this day is former midfielder and long throw specialist, Rory Delap. The Republic of Ireland international joined Sunderland after five years at Southampton, signed by fellow Irishman Mick McCarthy.

His spell on Wearside was marred by injury, only making 6 appearances in his first season. Delap made his debut as a substitute in a 1-0 defeat to fellow strugglers Birmingham City. The midfielder only played the full 90 minutes twice in his first Sunderland season, but actually scored on one of those. His header found the back of the net to earn a crucial 2-2 draw against Everton.

However, Delap was injured in the following game. Following a clash of heads with George McCartney, the game against Fulham was abandoned due to bad weather but only after Delap suffered a broken nose. He underwent an operation to fix the injury, but withdrew from the squad against Manchester United after having a nosebleed in the warm up. The former Derby County man was subsequently ruled out for the remainder of the season.

The following season, Roy Keane took over as manager but Delap quickly fell out of favour at the Stadium of Light. He joined Stoke City on loan, but suffered more misfortune with injury. In his second match for the Potters, he played against Sunderland and broke his leg after just twelve minutes! Despite being ruled out for the whole season, Tony Pulis opted to sign Delap permanently in January 2007.

In typical Sunderland fashion, Delap left Wearside only to discover he had a unique weapon in his arsenal which we did not utilise. It was a long throw, and caused every club problems from the touchline. Some goalkeepers actually chose to kick the ball out for a corner rather than concede a throw in, and Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger complained that his throws were an “unfair advantage” and a long throw-in is “like kicking the ball”.

More recently, Delap has become an assistant coach at Stoke and had a brief spell in 2019 as caretaker manager. His son Liam is a youth player at Manchester City and has been praised heavily by Pep Guardiola, who gave him his debut in the EFL Cup against Bournemouth in 2020, where the young striker scored!

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