Bent backs Agbonlahor pairing

Bent had few chances to play alongside Agbonlahor after his club record ?18 million move from Sunderland to Villa last season, with Houllier preferring to partner him with Emile Heskey.

Agbonlahor was often restricted to a wide role - if selected at all - and had his least productive campaign goal-wise for Villa.

But new manager Alex McLeish has more faith in the duo as a combination and on Saturday they gelled during the 2-0 home win over Wigan.

Agbonlahor scored the first goal - his fourth of the campaign - and then created the second for Bent as Villa maintained their unbeaten league start.

Bent said: "There were people who said myself and Gabby couldn't play together because we are too similar.

"But we compliment each other well and give each other chances. Hopefully it will continue and Villa can have a good season.

"Last season when I came I didn't really play with Gabby upfront. He played wide left.

"Did the previous manager feel we could not work together? Maybe. I know he never said it - but you could tell by the team shape last season.

"We only played one striker at times, and when we did play two, it tended to be myself and Heskey. It answers itself really."

Bent believes Agbonlahor's pace will cause problems to most defences and that he will eventually regain an England spot if he maintains his current form.

He said: "I don't think there are too many strikers playing better than Gabby. He looks strong and fast and dangerous.

"The goals he has been scoring this season have been fantastic so there is no reason why he shouldn't called up by England.

"When you have someone with that kind of pace upfront it makes the job easier because Gabby is always going to get past people and expose people with his pace.

"It is going to help both of us and the team. I don't think anyone in the league who could keep up with Gabby. He is up there with the quickest of them.

"He can get from point A to point B very quickly and in this league people say the league is about pace - and he has that in abundance."

Agbonlahor appears to have regained the hunger and zest for the game after last season's barren spell.

Bent said: "It happens to strikers and it happens to all of us.

"You go through periods when you are not scoring goals and think the world is against you.

"But he has come back this season and I am sure he is not even thinking about what happened before."

Source: Team Talk