Football

Bent bears no grudges

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Aston Villa striker Darren Bent insists there are no hard feelings between him and his England team-mates who left the club this summer.

Wingers Ashley Young and Stewart Downing joined Manchester United and Liverpool respectively for a total of £35million, much to the disappointment of Villa fans. However, Bent believes his international colleagues are entitled to move in search of major honours.

He said: "You're always going to be disappointed when you see players like Ashley and Stewart leave because they are top players, which is why the big clubs want them. But at the same time I wish them all the best and I hope they go on to achieve great things. Everyone wants to play in the top competition, which is the Champions League."

Bent, who moved to Villa Park from Sunderland in January, has backed the team's youth and fringe players to step up and fill the gaps created by the departures.

He said: "We've got top players that are still here and I'm sure they'll go on to do well as well, and we'll grow as a team.

"We've still got players here like Marc Albrighton who's coming through, Gabby (Agbonlahor), Nathan Delfouneso and Stephen Ireland's going to be like a new signing. So I'm sure this season will be better than last season."

Bent was speaking at the launch of Aston Villa's new home shirt, which is sponsored by Genting Casinos.

Hundreds of supporters turned out at Birmingham's Star City leisure complex to catch a glimpse of their heroes and Bent sees this as a sign that the animosity towards the appointment of former Birmingham boss Alex McLeish has well and truly abated.

"It shows by how many people are out there to support the players that the fans are behind Alex McLeish 100%," he said. "I think he's been fantastic.

"We haven't had too many sessions with him but he's brought a freshness to the place, told us what he expects of us and the lads are behind him 100%. It shows his character coming from Birmingham to Villa. The boys are behind him and we just can't wait to get going."

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

Topics:
Marc Albrighton
Sunderland
European News
Stewart Downing
Football
Stephen Ireland
Premier League
Alex
UEFA Champions League
Manchester United
Ashley Young
Nathan Delfouneso
Aston Villa
Birmingham
Darren Bent
Liverpool
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