Villa boss feels form of Christian Benteke has justified his decsion to leave out Bent.
Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert has insisted he has been vindicated in his decision to marginalise striker Darren Bent this season according to The Sun.
The England international is the club’s record signing having joined from Sunderland for a fee in the region of £24 million and played an integral role for the club when he first signed.
But Bent has found his first team chances severely limited this season following the arrival of young Belgian forward Christian Benteke.
With Lambert preferring to play with just one up front, Bent has been forced into sitting on the bench and watch on as Benteke has attracted numerous plaudits for his performances.
Bent admitted he was not happy with his current situation and would sit down for talks with Villa officials over the summer but Lambert believes the form of Benteke has justified his decision to leave Bent out.
Benteke’s fine form led to him being one of the front-runners for the PFA Young Player of the Year Award although the Belgian eventually lost out to Gareth Bale.
Lambert insists the decision to leave Bent out was nothing personal and pointed to Benteke’s 19 Premier League goals this season.
‘I don’t think about reputations. They don’t win you games and, as an individual, you have to buy into the team. When I came in last year, it was a case of getting somebody to play alongside Darren.
‘When the club lost Emile Heskey it needed a target man, a No 9.
‘I wanted to replace someone of that ilk and Christian came in.
‘Then I started looking at the squad, what system was going to suit, and ended up playing one guy up front — and the best one for that was Christian Benteke. And seeing his form, you can see why.
‘There was nothing personal in it but we had to get a team that was going to win games.
‘I stuck with it and I don’t think anyone can argue with what’s happened. Right from the off, Christian scored. He was an absolute cornerstone for us.’