Lambert defends dropping Aston Villa striker Bent

Paul Lambert has denied a rift between himself and Aston Villa striker Darren Bent has opened up despite leaving the England striker out of the match day squad of 18 in the club’s last two Premier League fixtures, the BBC has reported.

Having missed the weekend’s 0-0 draw with Arsenal, Bent was again deemed surplus to requirements for Tuesday’s 1-0 win over Reading. Summer signing Christian Benteke scored the only goal of the game late in the match, earning the points that took Villa out of the league’s bottom three. It was Benteke’s fifth goal for Villa, coming in his 13th appearance.

Speaking after the match Lambert rejected the suggestion that Bent left Villa Park on Saturday after discovering he was not even a substitute against the Gunners, with the manager insisting that he cannot be preoccupied with just one player, but rather must do what is best for the squad as a whole.

Lambert added that Bent’s days at the Midlands club were far from numbered. He said: “Darren Bent just has to play well and train well. He has a future, everybody has. I’ve got nothing against anybody in the club, I’ve got 25 lads to look after.

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