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Bent starts road to recovery

Darren Bent

Aston Villa striker Darren Bent has taken the first step on his road to recovery after ankle surgery by doing some light running, manager Alex McLeish has confirmed.

Bent went under the knife at the start of March and has made it clear he is still hoping to be fit for England's Euro 2012 campaign.

Press Association Sport understands his progress was assessed this week by England's medical team at Villa's Bodymoor Heath training complex, and McLeish said: "Darren is bang on course for a full recovery and we are all very pleased about this."

He continued: "The player himself is obviously delighted and he has began to do light running which is good news.

"He will continue to work under the guidance of (Villa doctor) Dr Ian McGuinness and the medical team."

Bent had looked certain to be a part of England's summer campaign in Poland and Ukraine after establishing himself as a member of Fabio Capello's first-choice side over the past 12 months.

He has stressed his desire to play in a first major tournament after not being selected for the 2006 and 2010 World Cups and England failing to qualify for Euro 2008.

Villa's £18 million record-signing had netted 10 goals this season before the ankle setback.