Darren Bent admits to pleading with Liverpool & Manchester United targets Stewart Downing & Ashley Young to stay at Aston Villa

The 27-year-old believes the duo are "top class" and has been pestering them prior to England duty, and hopes to establish spot in national set-up with display against Switzerland
Darren Bent has revealed that he has spoken to Stewart Downing and Ashley Young in an attempt to convince them to remain at Aston Villa.

The pair have been linked with moves to the north west, with Liverpool monitoring both as Manchester United are believed to be in the hunt for Young, and Bent has revealed that he is spoken to the duo.

Bent told reporters: “When we come away with England we are focusing on the game on Saturday but before that yes I was trying to convince them to stay – they are two top-class players and if they stay next season it will be fantastic."

The Aston Villa striker has been one of the most prolific in the Premier League this season after scoring 17 goals, and hopes to translate his domestic form onto the international stage.

“For me personally the game against Switzerland on Saturday is a massive game,” Bent said.

“I don’t feel too much pressure to be honest. I played in the last couple of games and it’s going really well for me so I don’t feel too much pressure. I’m just going to go out there, if I get the nod, play as well as I can and hopefully England win.

“I want to play for England in as many games as I can and try and establish myself as England No.9.

“That is all I am thinking about, regardless of what is going on elsewhere."

Bent switched to Aston Villa from Sunderland for £18 million in January, with some questioning whether it was a wise move to join a club that was heading towards a relegation battle.

However, Bent feels his selection for England vindicates his decision to leave the Stadium of Light.

“It has been a very good season,” Bent continued.

“People probably question me about going to Aston Villa but for me I always knew it was the right place to go, it’s worked out really well and I have loved every minute of it.

“To be fair I don’t think I am doing anything different in my game. Capello said it was the best move for me but I am still just trying to score as many goals as I can nothing in my game has changed. If I get the nod this weekend then hopefully I can grab a goal."

Rumours of manager Gerard Houllier's departure from Villa have been rife, but Bent was keen to ignore the speculation.

“I have tried to forget about it and just focus on the England match once it is done and dusted then the focus will return to Villa,” he said.

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