Date: 5th March 2012 at 12:55pm
Written by:

Those who use vital regularly or follow me on twitter will know that I am not the £24 million pound strikers biggest fan at the minute.

What I wanted to do is just explain my point of view a little bit more clearer because in the forum it goes from a debate into a slanging match into a comparison to Gabriel Agbonlahor and I don’t intend for it to go in any of those directions.

Bent close up

So to start with, I understand and appreciate that Darren Bent has a very strong goal scoring record, no one can take that away from him, However IMO if you just look at the goals it`s a very blinkered view.

He isn`t a 20 goal a season striker and the reason I believe this is because he has achieved over 20 PL goals just the once in his 8 seasons in the PL.

Heskey has also hit 20 goals once. Point proven?

Bent’s record.

*Ipswich 1
*Charlton 18
*Charlton 13
*Spurs 6
*Spurs 12
*Sunderland 24
*Sunderland/Villa 8/9
*Villa 9

Bent running

Out of Bent’s 100 goals 74 have come from open play, so taking away his penalties he scores on average 9.25 goals a season from open play. Of course penalties are important, However the reason I take them away is to prove that his ability on the pitch in open play isn`t as great as we are led to believe, if it was he would have more than 9.25 goals from open play IMO

This is where the comparison to Gabby always crops up, because I am told we are in trouble now Bent is injured but I always point out that Gab has a stronger more consistent goal record when he is played in his natural position and when he is 100% fit.

Anyway I digress

Bent with Herd

My problem with Bent is his lack of overall ability on the ball and the lack of impact he has on the game when we are not set up to create everything for him.

Last season we had the right set up for Bent, we had Young, Downing, Albrighton & Gabby all working the wings and laying his chances on a plate for him (95 of his goals are from in the Penalty Box)

This season we do not have the same luxury, we are down on quality and have a manager who is playing square pegs in round holes, so we need the 11 men on the pitch to be working for each other and scoring goals from all over the pitch

Well this isn`t something that Bent does at all well.

In his 8 PL seasons he has only contributed to 14 goals for his teams, which is pretty low considering that most of the time he is playing as a lone striker so he is the focal point of the attack, who IMO should be bringing the other players into the game and holding the ball up to allow the midfield to push up and support him.

Bent hands to ears

Now considering he is only behind Rooney and Drogba in the last 5 years for goals scored you would of thought that a top team would of come in for him?.. Until you look at the bigger picture

Drogba 54 Assists
Rooney 69 Assists
Bent 14 Assists

When you see his overall contribution I think it becomes more clearer as to why his average finish with the teams he has played for is only 12th.

I wanted to write this article because I don`t want to keep discussing it on the forum any longer, and I saw something on twitter that was written by @arhindtutt.

He isn`t a Villa fan so it`s not a biased opinion towards Bent, so I wanted to share it

his site is

Throughout his career Darren Bent has been renowned for his goal scoring ability. Many will argue being a striker that scoring goals is his primary function. However, as the former Ipswich forward is out of action for three months, perhaps now is the time to question how much Bent really offers to a team.

He does not possess a particularly high work rate. It is not necessary in football although it is an endearing characteristic to English supporters. Bent is more prepared to wait for the chances to arrive and with this comes the expectation he`ll be ruthless when they do appear. The striker offers little when it comes to build-up play but Bent is forgiven as long as he scores goals – something he`s done regularly.

The Aston Villa striker has 100 Premier League goals which is an impressive achievement. He is capable of the sublime in the final third as his finish at the Emirates proved just over a month ago. Bent`s never been too far away from the ridiculous though. Having missed a seemingly easy chance for Spurs in 2009, Harry Redknapp famously lambasted Bent saying he thought his wife could have scored.

How receptive the striker is to criticism has been something else open to debate but Redknapp`s comments were certainly harsh. It wasn`t too surprising when Bent subsequently moved on to Sunderland, one of four Premier League clubs he`s played for.

Bent on ball

Whilst he has achieved plenty of personal success with those he`s plied his trade within the top flight, teams with Darren Bent in them have struggled to achieve much. The average Premier League finish for a side containing the striker is 12th. Furthermore, he has only ever achieved two top half finishes in his career.

The closest Bent has come to success was when he was an unused substitute in Spurs 2008 Carling Cup victory over Chelsea. He started in the final the following year but Manchester United came up trumps in the penalty shoot out.

Since then he hasn`t come any nearer, so perhaps there`s something deeper afoot. Let`s compare him to the striker expected to deputise in his absence – Emile Heskey. He may be the bane of many football supporters jokes but don`t be deceived as Heskey is a fine player. What many fail to appreciate is how much he gives to the team, something Gerard Houllier tried to emphasise in his time at Liverpool, labeling him extremely influential and instrumental to the success enjoyed at the club in the early part of the 21st Century.

Glance at what Heskey has won in his career and it dwarfs Bent`s solitary Carling Cup success. The former England striker has been victorious in the League Cup four times whilst he has won the FA Cup and the UEFA Cup once. Add to that a Charity Shield and a UEFA Super Cup and Heskey will be able to look back on some career when he retires.

Bent is still a long way from thinking about retirement but he is coming to the point in his career where he`ll want to win something more substantial than a League Cup. As Emile Heskey has proved, goals are not everything for a striker even though he has also passed the 100 goal mark in the Premier League. Too many in the game only appreciate the goals and not what a player offers in his all round game.

Add up what has been paid for Darren Bent throughout his career and the figure nearly reaches £50 million. Clearly clubs value the goals column very highly. Villa paid £24 million for Bent last January whilst the total sum of fees for Emile Heskey comes to just £2 million more.

The case of Darren Bent then illustrates how deceiving statistics can be sometimes. It also highlights how many don`t appreciate the subtler side of football – i.e. those who don`t score the goals. Bent is yet to play for one of England`s elite in his career and although time is running out, he`ll need to add more to his game before it happens.

Look forward to hearing everyone’s thoughts on this *Runs for cover*

Darrent Bent thread: Click Here