'His goalscoring is phenomenal' - Lambert hails Bent's importance to Aston Villa

After missing Euro 2012 with an ankle injury, the England international is scheduled to return to training on Friday in a welcome boost to the Villans' new boss

Paul Lambert believes a fit and firing Darren Bent will prove an extremely useful asset to Aston Villa ahead of the newly-appointed manager’s first full season in charge, highlighting the impact his absence last term had.

The 28-year-old England striker missed Euro 2012 with an ankle injury but is expected to return to pre-season training on Friday.

Villa finished a lowly 16th place in the Premier League in their last campaign, and Lambert believes that a fully-fit Bent it could make a huge difference.

"He’s a goalscorer, which every club needs,” Lambert told reporters.

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“When Darren was injured, I think the team struggled to get a goal.

"His goalscoring is phenomenal. He would have gone to the Euros if he was available, so it is a big plus for us to have him fit."

Bent scored nine league goals in 25 appearances last season, but did not feature for Alex McLeish's outfit from late February onwards due to injury, with the club's struggles ultimately costing the Scottish manager his job.