Bent seeks Lambert showdown talks

Darren Bent wants answers. Photo: PA

Aston Villa striker Darren Bent expects to hold talks this week with manager Paul Lambert after being left out of the starting line-up for yesterday's home clash with West Brom.

The England international came off the bench to salvage a 1-1 draw with an 80th-minute equaliser after Shane Long had given the Baggies a 51st-minute lead.

But Bent admitted being left out of Lambert's first XI was the climax to an unhappy fortnight.

He was not included by England boss Roy Hodgson in the squad for last month's World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and Ukraine and was removed as Villa captain by Lambert.

Bent said: "It's been a crappy couple of weeks, finding out I was no longer captain before the game (against Swansea).

"Then to find out when I got here (for West Brom) that I wasn't playing - it was disappointing.

"But at the same time, the lads played well and over the weeks we have been slowly getting better and better.

"I can't remember the last time I was left out. I only found out when the gaffer read the team sheet out. I didn't know. It is frustrating and disappointing.

"All I can keep doing is what I did against West Brom - to come on and try to notch goals and go from there."

Asked what Lambert had said about leaving him out, Bent replied: "Nothing. I've not spoken to the manager at all about why he left me out.

"I'm sure we'll probably speak next week.

"You are always frustrated when you are not playing games, and the way I found out I wasn't playing."

Bent acknowledged being dropped could have been a kick up the backside.

He said: "Maybe. Strikers are always judged on scoring goals and, getting the one against Southampton last week, I thought I could build on that. But it just wasn't meant to be.

"Hopefully I'll score more goals now. I'm always a confident character and, if I get the chance, I'll score the goals."

Hodgson was at Villa Park to witness Bent's equaliser.

"I didn't know he was here but hopefully the goal will give me a boost and I'll be in his plans," Bent said.

"I feel I'm going in the right direction as far as goals are concerned.

"I just wanted to get on the pitch and show I can score goals if given the chances."

Hodgson also saw a fine display from Albion keeper Ben Foster, but the 29-year-old has no intention of reversing his decision to quit playing for England 18 months ago.

He said: "I'm very happy with the situation. Roy knows my reasons why. I'm very settled with my family and it's as simple as that."

Foster hopes the Baggies can persuade central defender Jonas Olsson to end speculation about his future by signing a new contract.

Olsson, who is in the final year of his current deal, and Gareth McAuley have formed a solid partnership which was again evident against Villa.

Foster said: "Jonas and Gareth have been that way since the middle of last season. They are absolute warriors. You know they are going to block everything, head everything, kick everything.

"They took some serious knocks against Villa. They have got bumps and bruises all over, but they will always be in there fighting for you and it's nice to have two people like that in front of you.

"I don't think there are many better centre-back pairings in the Premier League. They play week in and week out I don't think they've missed a game for a good long time.

"You take all those things into account and I'd much rather be playing with those two than the majority of defensive pairings.

"I just hope Jonas will stay. He is such an important part of our team. I think the chairman (Jeremy Peace) needs to sit down (with Jonas).

"Lock them both in a room and hopefully get something sorted out.

"It's people like Jonas we need to be keeping if we are going to be pushing on."