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Football | Barclays Premier League

Villa quash Bent exit rumours

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert has denied striker Darren Bent is being left to kick his heels on the sidelines because of financial reasons.

Bent is Villa's record signing after joining the club for 18 million pounds ($28.87 million) in January 2011, but has been omitted from the matchday squad for the last two games despite the club struggling for goals.

Rumours have been circulating that Bent, who has played 47 Premier League games for Villa, is being overlooked because of a clause stating more money will have to be paid to his former club Sunderland if he makes 50 top flight appearances.

"It is nowhere near anything of that whatsoever," Lambert said on the BBC.

"You get knocks in football, but it is how you bounce back from them."

Villa, who are hovering nervously above the relegation zone, have found the net just 11 times in their opening 14 games.

Bent, whose ability to contribute outside of the penalty area has frequently been called into question, has nonetheless an impressive career scoring record with 149 league goals in 359 games.

He seems to be a square peg in the round hole of the current Villa formation, however, with Lambert choosing to utilise a solitary frontman and preferring close-season recruit Christian Benteke in the role.

The Belgium international, who joined from Racing Genk, has been far from prolific, netting just three times in 11 Premier League games. Bent has started six league games and scored twice.

"The system at the minute is definitely suiting us," Lambert said. "Benteke, I do not want to say he is the complete player because he is not, but he has been absolutely brilliant.

"His goal ratio is frightening from the national team to coming here, and he is leading the line exceptionally well."


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