McLeish - Bent needs support

Villa boss does not want to rely solely on striker for goals

Darren Bent: Aston Villa striker has not scored for a month and is often short on support

Loading Market ...

Football Betting

Up To £30 Free Matched Bet

Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish has stated that Darren Bent needs better service in order to get the striker back on the goal trail.

The Villa frontman needs a good season if he wants to make England's Euro 2012 squad after being left out of the World Cup in South Africa last year but he is finding it difficult to impress after only managing to score five goals in 13 League games this season.

Bent also failed to take a single shot in Saturday's 1-0 defeat to Manchester United and McLeish is looking into solving this problem after the 27-year-old has not found the net for over a month.

"Benty does have great movement; it's just a pity that sometimes we don't have the quality to see the runs he makes," said McLeish.

"We created 10 chances against Norwich. He got a couple of goals and could have had another couple so we are capable of doing it depending on our personnel.

"I've watched games from last season and Bent only had one chance in the Man City game - his debut - and scored, so he was starved of service that night as well. But he only needs one chance and we've got to plug away."

Horses for courses

The Scotsman has some creative players at his disposal such as Barry Bannan, Marc Albrighton and Jermaine Jenas but the Villa boss has declared that his players need to step up their game if they want first-team football.

He added: "By putting Barry and Jenas in, we were looking to find the openings, but it's not easy. I'm just asking for players to give me outstanding performances to stay in this team.

"We're looking for horses for courses every week now, rather than saying, 'Can't leave him out.'

"There are plenty of seven-out-of-10 performances, but we're looking for eights or nines, and any of the midfielders that are ready to do that will be in this team."

Although the ex-Birmingham boss is crying out for his players to give Bent better support, he has admitted that his team cannot become too reliant on the England international.

"We can't just rely on Bent to score us the goals," he said. "Gabby Agbonlahor has been fantastic this season and we look for him to retain his consistency and be an even bigger threat.

"Plus Charles N'Zogbia and guys like Albrighton, who did really well in the second half against United, have to come to the fore also."