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That Darren Bent Situation

That Darren Bent Situation

It seems like a lot of people are (excuse the pun) bent out of shape about the news of Darren Bent`s exclusion from first team affairs. The report of the £24m striker`s exile to training with the youth team in the Birmingham Mail has prompted a public outcry that he`s being treated terribly and doesn`t deserve to be snubbed that way.
The sad fact is, if he was truly worth the £24m we paid for him a few years ago, he wouldn`t be allowed to leave and we`d be fighting tooth and nail to tie him down for longer.

"How can you say that?!" I hear you proclaim. Well, I`ll tell you. If Darren Bent was the total package, he would have kept the captain`s armband for longer. If he was the ultimate striker, he`d have started every game. If he was utterly indispensible to Aston Villa, the manager would find it nigh-on impossible to implement a playing style without him. But he`s not. The fact that Christian Benteke was bought for £7m and scored 19 goals in his first year suggests that Bent`s style is too basic for Paul Lambert`s revolution and that this one-trick pony must be put out to pasture.

Ask yourself this.....if Darren Bent is as amazing as some believe him to be, why has he never played for Arsenal, Chelsea or United? Why aren`t Man City opening the purse for what would be the snip of the season to buy him? Why haven`t we been made an offer we can`t refuse, and why did he never make that big step up? I believe it`s because the game has changed. Clubs need a striker who can create goals from their own ability as well as team efforts in contrast to relying heavily on balls into the box like Bent does. Benteke showed us last season that he is more than capable of destroying defences on his own as well as scoring in the area and even creating chances for others. Unfortunately for Bent, the days of walking into the opposition penalty area and having the ball laid off for him have come to an end. I could be wrong, he could move on and top the scoring charts next season because his new team know how to get the best from him, but sadly I think it`s unlikely.

People have also posed the question of what would happen if we were to lose Benteke and we hadn`t yet sold Bent; I believe he`d still be sold. Paul Lambert is developing a philosophy at the club that focuses on the team, the ability of the team, the relationships within the team and the overall success of the team. To basically dismantle that ideology and say "right boys, get it into the box and pass to Darren" is tantamount to releasing a sky lantern near a plastic factory. Also, if Lambert did decide to build the team around Bent and he got injured (again), what then? We would certainly have developed a reputation as a one-mean team if Mr. Houllier had still been in charge. Yes, when he was bought he did his job of keeping us in the Premier League with his goals, but this is a new era and there is no room for sentiment when a man is not willing or able to adapt his game for the good of his employers to the tune of around £70,000 a week.

Why has he been told to train with the youngsters? This is open to speculation. Some might believe he`s fallen out with Lambert, some might say it`s because he`s being sold, eternal optimists might postulate that he will be passing his goalscoring experience onto the kids. My own opinion is that his ego has gotten in the way of his ability to function as part of a unit rather than being the big fish in a small pond which he thrived on at Charlton and Sunderland, and sending him to the kids seems more like a statement of his availability to other clubs rather than some form of cruel punishment, although I could be totally wrong. After all, as mentioned above, this is a man who cost us £24m, is earning a considerable amount of money but is unable to offer anything more than a well-placed shot from inside the area. Let`s not forget that he was handed the captain`s armband at the start of Lambert`s tenure, a sure gesture from the manager to say that he has faith in him and would like to see what he can do. It hasn`t been enough, and at 29 years old Bent may now struggle to find a move to another Premier League club of similar stature to Aston Villa.

Don`t get me wrong, I bear no personal grudge to Darren Bent. When we first signed him I believed it was a statement of intent, a sign that after years of struggling for goals that we finally had a man who would propel us up the table. He did that, regrettably from the wrong end, and all seemed well. However, Lambert is clearly keen to have players on board who believe in Aston Villa and are willing to work hard for the team rather than the team working hard for one man. If Bent met that criterion he would not be being sold, surely. In addition, consider that in 3 seasons Bent has scored 21 league goals and Benteke has scored 19 in one season. Consider that in 3 seasons Gabby has only scored 4 league goals less than Bent. Consider that Benteke, Gabby and Andi Weimann do a whole lot more for the team other than put the ball in the back of the net and it becomes clear that Darren Bent is inevitably surplus to requirements.

You need only look at the simple facts: Ashley Young, Gareth Barry and James Milner were key players for us, important members of the first team and they moved on to bigger clubs and found success. Bent will leave as a man who will be remembered for keeping us in the Premier League but just didn`t fit in with the new regime. That`s all. I wish him the best.

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Writer:Turkish Penguin
Date:Wednesday July 3 2013
Time: 12:17PM


Someone has too much time on his hands !
03/07/2013 12:32:00
I expect that Bent will have too if he doesn't move on this summer
villan of the north
03/07/2013 12:41:00
He did his job, we would have lost more than £18m had we been relegated that year. He did very little after that apart from injuring himself and going shopping. He's not as prolific as you think, and his work ethic is zero. Thanks and goodbye, Lambert has to go with a 25 man squad ready for next season so lets move on.
03/07/2013 12:44:00
Someone is using more than one user ID to access this site. Ref. the who has he played for - he played for Spurs and had a **** for a manager. Ref. who will have him - Newcastle want him (they get way bigger gates than us if nothing else) which indicates they are at least prepared to pay him similar wages, probably because they dont want a repeat of their last season. The issue here is not his contribution - the issue is the bush league treatment of a player who did what he said on the tin when he got here. It sucks. Its embarrassing. It overlooks how Benteke nearly put us in it in the last week. Its also bad business. Whoever buys him may have to contend with the fact it will take him up to half a season to get back up to full operating speed - that'd be one reason not to meet the asking price.
03/07/2013 12:46:00
actually he's not training with the kids, hutton, Ireland and bent are training separately, no doubt to minimise the risk of injury while we await offers (fingers crossed). This isn't a statement by lambert about anything other than he's already had the chat with these 3 and their not part of the plans. I said on an earlier post, madness to include players who aren't scheduled to be here next season to have any involvement in a critical pre season. lambert and his coaches don't mess about in pre season, it's serious business from day one especially with our start to the season - 6 top 7 teams in 9 games.
pete the pessimist
03/07/2013 12:50:00
good to have you back Turkish, had missed your articles. Not sure I am totally with your opinion on Bent, I think it is a classless way to treat players and thought Villa were it a bit above this sort of stuff. It isn't about fall outs, it is about around 8-9 players who aren't in Lamberts plans and who were told at the end of the season they were welcome to find new clubs. All fair enough, but not sure a player like Bent has to be totally edged out until he can find a club, few injuries and who knows, he might actually be needed
The Fear
03/07/2013 12:56:00
not with you malacaxeta re: more than one user ID? You can login via facebook/twitter now as well as our own logins if that is what you mean?!
The Fear
03/07/2013 12:57:00
Thank you Mr Fear! I'd like to think that he would be needed and that he would be the pinnacle of a potent strikeforce as was originally intended, but sadly it's looking like another "no way back" scenario to me. I think the real shame as well is that we spent £24m on one player and it won't be fully justified(unless you count the value of Premier League survival when he joined, of course!)
Turkish Penguin
03/07/2013 13:19:00
Mountain out of a molehill for me, as stated by a couple of other he has just been asked to train separately along with hutton and Ireland as they have been told they are not part of Lamberts plans. I don't see anything wrong with that, if I was preparing the team for a new season I would probably do the same, no disrespect to the players but you would want everyone pulling the same way in pre season and in Germany so why include 3 players who you are trying to move on? makes perfect sense to me.
03/07/2013 13:41:00
Strange thing is I believe he would score a hatfull for Arsenal they often play the ball into the box without having anyone to apply the final touch. But got to agree he does not suit the majority of styles in play today including ours. I think PL is singleminded in respect of what he wants and does not consider it a snub just commonsense in his eyes,unfortunatly it needs saying if this is the case as Bent has done nothing to deserve ill treatment or a lack of respect.
03/07/2013 14:08:00
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