Lambert rejects claims of bust-up with Bent after another omission

The Aston Villa manager has again dismissed notions of a feud with the club's record signing after the striker again failed to make the squad against Arsenal

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert has once again rejected claims of a bust-up with his £24 million striker Darren Bent following the Villans’ 0-0 draw with Arsenal.

Bent, who was available for selection against the Gunners at the weekend after recovering from an ankle injury, was not included in the squad that gained a valuable point against Arsene Wenger’s men.

Lambert instead called on 21-year-old Jordan Bowery as his reserve striker and defended his decision to leave Bent out altogether.

"That's my decision. I'm the man that picks the team." Lambert told the Daily Mail.

"It’s my choice and I've 26, 27 lads that I have to look after. Everybody's in it together and I need everybody in it together.

17/2 Aston Villa are 17/2 to beat Reading 2-0 with bet365
"I know the disappointment when you don't play. I was dropped about five million times as a player, but that's the nature of the game.

"If you could pick everybody you would. Darren's still part of it but I’ve got 25, 26 guys to take care of and think of."

Speculation has been rife regarding the 13-time England international’s future and a possible transfer in January window, but Lambert does not believe there is a problem and he is unconcerned by the rumours linking Bent with a move away from Villa Park.

"Darren is fine," he added. "There's nothing at all [wrong]. The most important thing is Aston Villa Football Club."