McLeish - Bent can replace Roo
Villa boss feels there is more to striker's game than he gets credit for
Last Updated: October 14, 2011 7:30am
Darren Bent: Aston Villa striker has been backed by Alex McLeish to replace Wayne Rooney at Euro 2012
Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish has backed Darren Bent to replace Wayne Rooney for England at next summer's European Championship.
Rooney is poised to miss the group phase at Euro 2012 after being hit with a three-game suspension for his red card in last week's final qualifier against Montenegro.
The Football Association is currently waiting for Uefa's reasons for the ban before deciding whether to appeal, while coach Fabio Capello must weigh up the merits of taking a player to Poland and the Ukraine who would not be available until the knockout phase.
Bent has started to come of age at international level with four goals in his last five appearances for his country, and McLeish is confident the club's record signing will be able to aid England in overcoming Rooney's absence.
McLeish said: "Can Bent replace Rooney for England? Yes. I think so. He is a great finisher but he has a lot of other aspects to his game as well.
"Maybe because of the systems, with one playing up front over the last year, people don't see the other parts to his game he does so well.
"I've been impressed by Benty's overall play. I used to think that he was just a last third of the pitch sort of player but there is a lot more to his game.
"I thought he was that goal-poacher type, which he is, but there are definitely other strings to his bow.
"He is not a target man as such but he is decent in the air and holds things up.
"Darren is a much better all-round player than he is given credit for and is making his mark with England now. But I wouldn't know what Fabio Capello thinks about his overall game."