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Bent's wrong to challenge Villa gaffer so publicly; FORMER Wolves star Mel Eves is now managing director of Eleven Sports Management - leaders in performance development, who can offer the best tools and techniques to show you how to maximise your sporting potential. MEL EVES THE EX-WOLVES FAVOURITE, NOW A FOOTBALL AGENT, WRITES FOR MERCURY SPORT.

ISUPPOSE it was inevitable that Darren Bent, having been dropped by Villa boss Paul Lambert for the derby against Albion, would come off the bench at Villa Park and score the second-half goal that earned his side a point.

Although there are plenty of people in the game who think he ought to get more goals than he does, Bent's a natural scorer. After all, that's why Villa stumped up PS24 million to bring him to the West Midlands.

But I don't think it was a good move to publicly question the manager's decision to drop him and start Christian Benteke instead.

Every player should remember that no-one is 'un-droppable' in football, whoever they are.

Question Wayne Rooney's discovered it at Manchester United and Jermaine Defoe, another England striker and another natural goalscorer, wasn't making a lot of starts for Spurs when Harry Redknapp was managing at White Hart Lane.

I've got a lot of time for Harry and maybe Paul Lambert, like Harry did, has a question mark about the work-rate of his 'natural goalscorer.' Whatever the merits of giving him a starting role ahead of Bent, Benteke certainly put in a shift against the Baggies.

He played with a lot of energy and effort but as yet, he's not as assured in front of goal as Bent. He hasn't got the belief when faced with a goalscoring chance and his finishing let him down a few times when he ought to have done better.

And when the opportunity came to save the game for Villa, it was the England man who pounced. It wasn't an easy chance, a lesser finisher could have blazed it over the bar, but he got his body in just the right position to score and found a yard of space, which is what natural strikers do.

This leaves the boss with a nice dilemma, of course. Put the two strikers together and Villa would have the perfect player.

It'll be interesting to see what Lambert does at Spurs today. He wants to engender a good team spirit and wants everyone working hard and singing off the same hymnsheet - which is why Bent shouldn't have gone public.

The derby certainly wasn't a game for the purist; there wasn't much quality football, but I thought Albion really showed why they have been doing so well through the early stages of the season.

Gareth McAuley and Jonas Olsson looked solid at the back, the midfield were able to get the ball and pass it around and Shane Long impressed me up front.

He's got pace to burn, but he doesn't run around for the sake of it. He'll take defenders where they don't want to go and he's always threatening to run in behind the back four.

He crucified Wolves' Roger Johnson last season and he will exploit anyone who's slow. With all those pieces in place, I think the Baggies will continue to do OK.


DILEMMA: Villa's Darren Bent is a natural goalscorer.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Oct 7, 2012
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