Darren Bent is a man much maligned in the press, and in the dressing room, and his shock move to Aston Villa from Sunderland last week hasn’t exactly shed a kind light on him. But that said, he is one of the most underrated players in the Premiership. He may not be a player who scores five goals over two weeks, but never goes more than two games without one. Not even Rooney or Ronaldo can say that.
Bent is a striker in the classic sense. He knows his role, to finish the attack, plays up front, and is usually in the right place for that crucial cross or pass. That awareness of his placement on the pitch in comparison to all of the other members of his side is what allows him to have such consistency. His worst run for any side was at Spurs, when the now infamous “my missus would have scored that one” comment from Harry Rednapp came out. But even when he was at war with his manager, and unhappy at the club, he managed to score 17 goals in all competitions during one complete season. Not a stunning tally, but again, a reliable one.
Every where he’s been, no matter what soccer jersey he’s wearing; Ipswich Town, Charlton Athletic, Spurs, Sunderland, and now Villa Park in a club transfer record breaking £18m deal he has managed to provide a level of play that can be built upon and counted upon. Many question the wisdom of Bent’s high price tag, and the wisdom of Aston Villa’s owners in bringing him to the club. Most see it as desperation, but I see it differently.
For me, the purchase of Darren Bent is a statement by the owners that they are willing to shell out for decent players who put in a consistent performance, week after week. All to often, the teams promoted the 1st division are marked by a meteoric rise on the back of one striker or a few players who were good in the lower division, but overwhelmed and inconsistent in the Premiership. This more than any other factor is why most teams who are promoted are relegated within three seasons. By buying a player like Bent Aston Villa may not be able to avoid relegation, but they are showing the level of intent and understanding that assures one day they will be a force to be reckoned with within English soccer.
Written by: Matthew Wall, editor, soccerprose.com
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