The recent exclusion of Darren Bent from the Aston Villa could be considered as one the great modern day mysteries.
To many, Paul Lambert’s insistence to leave out the striker will be exactly that and no one will be more confused that Bent himself.
Here is a striker that cost the West Midlands outfit upwards of £20 million to prize away from Sunderland back in 2011 and has proved himself over the years to be one of the best finishers in the Premier League.
And yet, he now can’t get a game for the division’s joint lowest scorers prior to Tuesday’s victory over Reading.
In Lambert’s defence, Christian Benteke has proved to be an inspired signing since making the switch from K.R.C Genk in the summer and there is little doubt that the Belgian has all the attributes to develop into a special player.
But for Bent to not even make the 18 man squad for Villa’s last two games is verging on ridiculous, even those over at www.pubfruitmachines.me.uk will surely agree.
With respect to the likes of Jordan Bowery and Andreas Weimann, who may yet go on to have glittering careers, I would hazard a guess that the majority of opposition managers would rather face such players as opposed to the prospect of facing Bent.
A large proportion of football at the highest level is psychological and you can’t help but feel that not only is the Lions boss is handing his relegation rivals a boost every time that Bent’s name is not on the team sheet but also he is missing out on using one of the most potent finishers in the division.
Ask fans of Reading, Southampton, Norwich City or even Liverpool if they would love to have a striker of Bent’s class on their books and I think we all know what they answer would be.
Of course, no one knows what goes on behind closed doors and the possibility will always exist that the former Spurs man is not producing in training but it’s hard to get away from the fact that this current Villans team could really do with his services.
During his time at Norwich City, Lambert was known to be ruthless with people that upset the fantastic team spirit that he had built and this could be the Scot’s way of warning his players that no one is bigger than the club.
But few would argue against the suggestion that this Villa team is nowhere near good enough to leave out someone of Bent’s ability.
There’s clearly a group of talented youngsters at Villa Park that have the ability to develop into a good side in years to come, but it’s a side lacking in Leadership and experience; something that Bent could bring to the table.
Whatever you say about the England international, he has a wealth of appearances and indeed goals in the top division and I feel that Lambert’s team will have a better chance of survival with him rather than without him.
I’m sure that Bent will feel the same.