Aston Villa striker Darren Bent not surprised at Manchester United and Liverpool hunt to recruit Ashley Young

Former Sunderland striker reveals more international time is improving his game and felt that England were good value for their win over Wales in Euro 2012 qualifier
Only 15 months before his contract expires, Aston Villa winger Ashley Young is reportedly on Manchester United’s and Liverpool’s wish list for the summer transfer window and team-mate Darren Bent thinks it is no surprise that the starlet is so coveted by the big names in the Premier League.

Young’s talent has been evident throughout his remarkable performances both with the England national team and at Villa, where Bent is a team-mate after the 25-year-old moved to Villa Park in January on a £24million fee.

It was thanks to the former Watford player that the Three Lions were awarded a penalty for the opening goal against Wales on Saturday for the Euro 2012 qualifier.

He then went on to serve the ball to Bent to score the second goal in Cardiff.

"Ashley has been playing really, really well this season and being linked to top, top sides,” Bent told The Mirror.

"It's because of the form he is showing like against Wales that all these clubs are after him.

"He was fantastic and it helps me that he is also in the Villa side.

"The main thing is we can keep going, hang onto him for as long as possible and keep creating the chances for Villa and scoring goals."

The 27-year-old also admits that he is still adjusting to the international scene and feels more at ease to give his best as Capello gives him more time on the pitch.

Bent has scored three times in the last three international games and is in pole position to be at
the head of England’s defensive line.

He said: "It's always hard when you've had 10 minutes here, 10 minutes there but when you get a run in the side, you take great confidence from that.

"I'd love to be the number nine for as long as possible but there are a lot of top strikers about.

"If Fabio keeps picking me, hopefully I'll keep producing the goods. Scoring at this level gives me a lot of confidence.

"International football is a step up from the Premier League and to show you can score goals at international level has always been the hardest thing.

"To be fair, for me the most difficult one was getting the first one but hopefully now, if I can stay in the side, and keep playing well, there will be many more goals for me.

"I feel as if I belong at this level, definitely. I always believed in that even when at first the goals weren't going in.

"I always believed that I was good enough to score goals at this level and hopefully it is showing now."

England now stands at the top of Group G with 10 points after their win at the Millennium Stadium and Bent believes the Three Lions fully deserved the win.

"These games can always be difficult because derbies are always difficult games to play in,” he added.

"But for us to go 2-0 up in the first 15 minutes made it a lot more comfortable than maybe it could have been then if it had stayed 0-0 for a while.

"The manager was happy. There is always room for improvement and in the second half we took our foot off the gas and let them back into it.

"But we were definitely the better team over 90 minutes."

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