Aston Villa have an absolute gem in the form of prolific striker Darren Bent - that is according to his former boss Alan Curbishley, who reserved special praise for the qualities the 27-year-old brings both on and off the football field.

Bent notched an impressive 32 goals in 68 games during his two seasons at Charlton, one of which was under Curbishley's tutelage - causing him to label the England international as not only one of the very best predators in the game, but also a model professional off it.

"The first thing that attracts you to Benty is the goalscoring record," said Curbishley. "Just look at it from Ipswich, Charlton, Spurs, Sunderland and now Villa.

"He is just a fantastic goalscorer and if he misses one it doesn't faze him at all - he'll go again and again and again.

"Just ask the Villa boys in training. When the ball goes to Benty they expect it to go in which is great."

With plenty of talk over the summer questioning how Villa will replace the likes of Ashley Young and Stewart Downing, Curbishley has a much more positive outlook for the club who will have the benefit of a full season with the services of Bent - something which he feels bodes well for the future.


"Looking at Villa over the past few years, that's something that they've been lacking," he continued. "Someone who can get up to the 15 or 20 [goal] mark.

"Gabby [Agbonlahor] needed someone to help him out a bit because he was carrying the burden. Perhaps they can make a good partnership now.

"He's a fantastic professional too. He's the first one in training and the last one out. He's one of those lads - not a moment's hassle."

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