RORY DELAP will be tormenting opposition defenders and goalkeepers with his trademark long throw-ins once again in the coming season . . . after his contribution to Stoke City’s success in recent years was rewarded with a new contract.
The former Republic of Ireland international midfielder, who celebrated his 36th birthday in the countdown to the new season, is now the senior outfield player in the Potters squad, having been handed another year until the end of the 2012-13 campaign.
But as manager Tony Pulis has stressed many times, it is not just his ability to launch a long throw-in that has kept him at the top for so long, he has also been a major influence with his energetic performances in a number of different midfield positions.
Delap has been at the Britannia Stadium for six years now, although it was a move that almost ended before it had really begun back in October 2006.
In what was his home debut for the Club, he broke his leg badly in a game against former club Sunderland and was ruled out for the rest of the season.
But Pulis kept his word by signing the player in a permanent deal while he was on the road to recovery and he has certainly repaid that faith by helping the Potters to win promotion and then establish themselves in the top-flight of English football.
Having started his career at Carlisle United, Delap then had lengthy spells at Derby County and Southampton where he played much of his football in the Premier League, before spending a short time in the North East with Sunderland.
In total, he is now fast approaching 600 senior appearances during a career that began with his debut almost 20 years ago as a teenager.