Aston Villa Paul Lambert insists there is no rift with £18million club-record signing Darren Bent, who has been dropped for the last two games, and that the pair are on good terms.

Striker Bent has been replaced by £6.5million summer capture Christian Benteke in the starting line-up for the Barclays Premier League games with West Brom and Tottenham. There have been reports that Lambert and Bent, who has also been axed from the England squad, are not on speaking terms.

But Lambert is adamant the duo enjoy a healthy relationship although he understands Bent's frustration at losing his spot. The former Norwich boss said: "I've never had a problem with Darren. I have a laugh and a joke with him. Of course, I understand people get frustrated when they are left out. You'd be more worried if they weren't."

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