Belfast Telegraph

Bent backs Agbonlahor pairing

Darren Bent insists his partnership with Gabriel Agbonlahor can silence the doubters - including previous Aston Villa manager Gerard Houllier.

Bent had few chances to play alongside Agbonlahor after his club-record £18 million move from Sunderland to Villa last season, with Houllier preferring to partner him with Emile Heskey. But new manager Alex McLeish has more faith in the duo as a combination and on Saturday they gelled during the 2-0 home win over Wigan.

Bent said: "There were people who said myself and Gabby couldn't play together because we are too similar. But we compliment each other well and give each other chances. Hopefully it will continue and Villa can have a good season."

He added: "Last season when I came I didn't really play with Gabby up front. He played wide left.

"Did the previous manager feel we could not work together? Maybe. I know he never said it - but you could tell by the team shape last season. We only played one striker at times, and when we did play two, it tended to be myself and Heskey. It answers itself really."

Bent believes Agbonlahor's pace will cause problems to most defences and that he will eventually regain an England spot if he maintains his current form.

He said: "I don't think there are too many strikers playing better than Gabby. He looks strong and fast and dangerous.

"The goals he has been scoring this season have been fantastic so there is no reason why he shouldn't called up by England.

"When you have someone with that kind of pace up front it makes the job easier because Gabby is always going to get past people and expose people with his pace.

"It is going to help both of us and the team. I don't think anyone in the league who could keep up with Gabby. He is up there with the quickest of them. He can get from point A to point B very quickly and in this league people say the league is about pace - and he has that in abundance."


From Belfast Telegraph