Belfast Telegraph

Monday 21 April 2014

McLeish offers hope for Bent

Darren Bent

Alex McLeish believes Aston Villa striker Darren Bent could be available for Euro 2012 "with another two or three weeks' training".

After rupturing ankle ligaments in February, Bent is stepping up his rehabilitation work in the hope of being part of new England head coach Roy Hodgson's squad. The England medical team have been monitoring his progress, with physio Gary Lewin initially visiting Bodymoor Heath three weeks ago and making a second visit to Villa's training complex this week.

McLeish said: "Can he make the Euros? Roy Hodgson would have a better idea. If there were six weeks of the season to go, he'd certainly be back within those six weeks. But whether he goes to the Euros would be Roy's decision. It seems at this moment that, with another two or three weeks' training, he could be fine and available, put it that way."

He added: "Darren is working hard and training well. He's not joined the group yet. It's important that Darren gets a good summer behind him and regroups for the start of next season.

"He has come through a lot and he's at a good stage just now. He's enjoying his one-on-ones with the physios, he's working really hard."

McLeish admits the absence of Bent has been a massive blow for Villa.

He said: "I think it's 19 games the big fellow has missed. God knows how many goals he'd have got us and maybe have taken us into a little comfort zone.

"Hopefully he makes a full recovery in the summer and he's ready all guns blazing for next season."