• Premier League

Villa not planning to offload Bent

ESPN staff
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Darren Bent has lost the captaincy at Aston Villa © PA Photos
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Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert has no plans to sell unsettled striker Darren Bent in the January transfer window.

Bent, 28, has found himself on the bench for the first time at the club, leading to claims of a feud between the England international and Lambert.

But Villa have rejected rumours that the relationship has broken down and that the former Sunderland man will be allowed to leave, with Liverpool and Queens Park Rangers having both been linked with a possible deal.

"There is not a problem," a club spokesman told the Daily Express. "The manager has explained why he has not selected Darren for the last two games and has said his door is open if the player wants to discuss the matter."

Reports over the weekend claimed that the relationship between the pair had degenerated further with the striker also having been relieved of the captaincy by Lambert, as well being dropped from the starting line-up.

Bent started the season as captain before Lambert decided to give the armband to summer signing Ron Vlaar and he was then axed from a starting berth for the games against West Bromwich Albion and Tottenham.

Following the West Brom game, in which Bent scored after coming on as a substitute, the player claimed he had suffered a "crappy" two weeks and would be seeking an explanation from the manager for the situation.

Since then it is understood he has not held any discussions with Lambert regarding the issue and that has reportedly encouraged interest from QPR and Liverpool. QPR owner Tony Fernandes is believed to be a firm admirer of Bent, while Liverpool are looking at bringing in a striker in the New Year, following the loss of Fabio Borini with a broken metatarsal.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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