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Martin Keown: Darren Bent was wafer-thin when I played, but has bulked up and is a goal machine

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19 Jan 2011 01:51:46

Martin Keown: Darren Bent was wafer-thin when I played, but has bulked up and is a goal machine

Some people are saying Darren Bent is moving to Aston Villa for the money but I think it is also about his self-esteem. Bent seems to be a player who can lose his confidence very easily. You need to make a player like that feel loved and that clearly was not the case at Tottenham. He was different class under Steve Bruce at Sunderland: he felt loved and was more the centre of attention. That is important for a lot of strikers and Ian Wright was the same. The boot's on the other foot: Darren Bent scores with his left for England in Switzerland back in September Bent has scored only one goal in his last eight league games. His confidence has been affected, and Villa have made him feel wanted again. This move puts him back into the spotlight. But I don't think that is healthy - you can't fill that need for extra confidence by moving every time you feel a bit down. When Bent is confident, he is always looking to pull off the shoulder of the last defender; to stretch the opposition defence and pounce on a through ball. He is a goal machine and that is a vital commodity - especially for Aston Villa at the moment. He can play that role on his own up front or in a partnership - as he did so well with Kenwyne Jones last season. Bent has improved a great deal technically since his Tottenham days. He has learned to improvise with his finishing, adjusting his body so he is in a better position to shoot. His use of both feet is impressive, too. Unhappy days: Bent (right) in action for Tottenham against Sunderland in 2009 He is more comfortable shooting with his right but he took his goal for England against Switzerland well with his left. He is good in the air too, and gets across the face of the defender well. His shots-to-goal ratio is not so impressive but he will always score because he instinctively knows where to position himself. His team-mates can trust him more in possession now because he has learned to be more economical with the ball, is much stronger and protects the ball better. Bent has bulked up a lot. I played for Leicester against him six-and-a-half years ago when he was at Ipswich. He was wafer-thin and I was worried that it might hold him back. But it has not. He might not be the best at tracking back but you never accuse the person who puts the ball in the back of the net of not being a team player. That is what you are all working towards.  Darren Bent's stunning switch from Sunderland to Aston Villa: Is £24m the price of survival for Gerard Houllier's men?Bent a done deal as England striker seals £24m switch from Sunderland to Aston VillaHell Bent on staying alive: Worried Lerner hands Houllier war chest for Villa's survival mission  Explore more:People: Darren Bent, Ian Wright Places: United Kingdom, Switzerland


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