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Lambert defends dropping Bent

PAUL LAMBERT insists he will "live and die" by his selection decisions after again leaving record signing Darren Bent out against Reading at Villa Park.

A goal from Bent's replacement up front, Christian Benteke, secured a 1-0 victory for Villa and moved them out of the Premier League bottom three.

But it was still a surprise to see £18m England international Bent fail to make even the bench, with rookie striker Jordan Bowery preferred among the substitutes.

Lambert said: "I do rate Darren but I pick a team I always think will win. I've got 25 guys to look after. The most important thing is this club and I'll always make decisions I think are right for this club.

"I'll live and die by them. That's the nature of the beast. I'll always make an honest judgement on who I think should play but I have no problem with Darren, absolutely none."

Lambert denied there was any fall-out with Bent or that the striker had left the stadium before kick-off after his exclusion from proceedings.

Lambert said: "Darren was in the squad, it was the same on Saturday. I just picked the same group. I do what think is best for Aston Villa.

"I do rate him as a player. I've no problem with his attitude in training, none whatsoever."

Away from the ongoing intrigue over Bent, Lambert hailed the significance of Villa's third win of the season.

He said: "It was a big result."


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