Bent watches from the stands, but Lambert says he still has a future at Villa

Aston Villa had a fantastic 1-0 win over Reading on Tuesday evening and those three points saw them move out of the relegation zone.

Darren Bent was the man grabbing a lot of headlines though, as he was watching on from the stands after not being selected in Paul Lambert’s match day squad. The England international does not have an injury at the moment, nor is he suspended – so questions over his future have been dominating the back pages recently.

Lambert insists that his number nine does have a future at the club, but it seems as though he is not happy with his attitude and work rate at the moment. Instead, new fan-favourite Christian Benteke is being preferred to Bent and the Belgian was the hero last night, scoring the all important winning goal.

When asked about the £24m man’s future, the Villa boss said: “Darren Bent just has to play well and train well.

“He has a future, everybody has. I’ve got nothing against anybody in the club, I’ve got 25 lads to look after. I don’t have any problem with anybody.”

Lambert has not started Bent and Benteke together since the 4-1 defeat at Southampton and questions are now arising over whether the Scotsman believes they can play together. Although the England international cannot expect to start every week, he would have not come into the season thinking he would be out of the squad altogether when fully-fit.

Benteke is just 21-years-old and fits the bill for a ‘Lambert Player’ as he is young, eager to impress and works extremely hard. The Villa manager had nothing but praise for his striker after the victory over Reading.

“He’s done fantastic for me. He was up against a big lad. It was a fantastic header.” he added.

The future for Bent is certainly under a lot of doubt and at the moment it does look as though he may be heading out of Villa Park. There are not many better goal-scorers around and the 28-year-old would surly interest teams such a Liverpool, who are struggling for a front-men right now.

Maybe even the likes of Chelsea will monitor his situation as players such as Juan Mata, Oscar and Eden Hazard would provide plenty of service for him.

However, what Bent will be focusing on now is breaking back into this Aston Villa squad. Does he have the desire, hunger and work rate to impress Paul Lambert?

We shall see.

Tommy graduated from Sheffield University in 2009 with a Journalism degree and has worked in various professional industry posts including the football print media.