Matt Holland has defended Darren Bent's attitude and claimed his fall from grace at Aston Villa could be down to financial reasons.
The £24million striker has just made six Premier League starts so far this season and even failed to make the bench for the matches against Arsenal and Reading.
The Scot said on Tuesday night: "Darren Bent just has to play well and train well. He has a future, everybody has. I've got nothing against anybody in the club, I've got 25 lads to look after. I don't have any problem with anybody."
But Holland, who played with Bent at Ipswich and Charlton, claims the England striker would never show a lack of effort at training, and believes those comments could spell the end for the 28-year-old.
“I get the impression Paul Lambert is questioning Darren Bent’s work rate and attitude,” he told Hawksbee and Jacobs. “Otherwise you wonder why he’s not on the bench at the very least. Aston Villa have only scored 11 goals in 14 Premier League games, and that tells you where their problems lie.
“I can’t understand why he’s not on the bench at the very least when you need goals in your team.
“Talking of attitude and workrate, I played with Darren at Ipswich and Charlton and I can tell you George Burley and Alan Curbishley used to have to drag him off the training field to give him a rest. He was out there for hours on end practising free-kicks and penalties, I’d be surprised if that was the problem.”
Holland went on to state that Aston Villa might be looking to ship Bent out of Villa Park to help fund a raid on the transfer window this January.
He added. “I wonder whether it could be written into his contract that on a certain amount of appearances, and he might be getting close to that figure, that Villa have to pay Sunderland some money.
“Aston Villa are short on money. It looks like they are trying to sell him in January to try and generate some funds for Paul Lambert to go out and bring in some new players.
“They are certainly not going to get what they paid for him but he would certainly represent value for some clubs in the Premier League.”