Bent hails immense Ireland

Striker unsure he will be an automatic starter against Swans

Darren Bent: Describes Aston Villa teammate Stephen Ireland as a top, top player

Loading Market ...

Football Betting

Up To £30 Free Matched Bet

Darren Bent felt Aston Villa deserved their 3-1 victory against Chelsea and singled out midfielder Stephen Ireland for special praise with a man of the match display.

Didier Drogba gave the Blues an early lead only for Ireland to level things up and then the visitors stole the points as Stiliyan Petrov and substitute Bent both scored in the final seven minutes.

And the England striker praised the Irishman for his solid work ethic which helped Alex McLeish's side to their first win at Stamford Bridge in 10 seasons.

"He was fantastic today," Bent told Sky Sports. "To be fair, what people saw in the game was what we see everyday in training. I mean he's always the best player on the park in training. He keeps the ball and sees a pass that others just don't see and today he deserved all the credit because he was fantastic.

"He's so consistent which is why it's confusing as to why he doesn't play sometimes. At the same time, he got his opportunity today and he took it with both hands."

Ireland might have scored the third goal himself late on, having already levelled matters, but the Irishman was unselfish in setting up Bent for what proved to be a decisive moment in the match.

"Yeah, that's what Stevie's about to be fair. He always believes that someone is in a better position and he'll always pass it, he always keeps it simple and that what makes him a top, top player."

And although Bent is now the club's leading goalscorer with six goals, he is unsure as to whether he will be an automatic starter at home to Swansea on Monday.

He added: "The guys that started the game today were fantastic, they put in a real shift and when I came on I had to run my fair share as well, but I'm sure the manager's got in his head what he wants to do and hopefully if I get selected there's going to be more goals in the team and another three points."