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Southgate: Lambert has no obligation to play Bent

ESPN staff
November 30, 2012 « Watch the FA Cup 3rd Round Draw live from 2.40pm | Chartbeat test »
Darren Bent races clear of Swansea's Ashley Williams © PA Photos
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Striker Darren Bent will receive no sympathy starts in the Aston Villa first XI according to Gareth Southgate.

Despite costing the club £24 million, Bent has not even made the bench in the last two games even though he was fit for purpose.

Instead Belgian Christian Benteke has emerged as the club's top hit man and Southgate says that manager Paul Lambert is under no obligation to play the Englishman because it was not his decision to bring him to the club in the first place.

Frenchman Gerard Houllier brought Bent to Villa Park from Sunderland in January 2011 for £16 million.

The striker's record for the Black Cats was impressive, netting 32 times in his one and a half years at the club, but he has failed to match that record in the Midlands.

Southgate believes that Lambert has the experience to revive the out of form striker, who has scored just twice this season, but added that the club might consider moving Bent on in January.

"Paul hasn't spent the money so he will feel slightly less responsibility for what happens now," Southgate, who was at Villa from 1995 to 2001, told ESPN.

"He's a player who he's inherited and I am sure if he feels Darren's attitude is right and he can contribute to the team then Paul will use him.

"But he won't feel under pressure because he wasn't someone he put his reputation on the line to bring in.

"Paul is experienced enough to know he might need Darren at some point and if they are going to move him on in January they will need as much money as possible from that deal.

"If he's not using him at the moment, then it might be a better use of funds to make a change.

"But Paul will know and the owner will know what their plan is for that and how they want it to pan out."

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