Manager Steve McClaren hailed Darren Bent's poacher's instinct after the on-loan Aston Villa striker came off the bench to score twice as Derby overcame a stubborn Blackburn Rovers to draw level on points with Bournemouth at the top of the Championship table.
Former England sriker Bent has not started a Premier League match for Aston Villa since May 2013 after falling out of favour with Villa manager Paul Lambert and spent the whole of last season on loan at Fulham. He joined Derby after spending a month with Championship rivals Brighton and already has three goals from as many appearances.
“He is Johnny on the spot,” McClaren said. “What he brings is what we have been searching for. He has that knack that you can't coach of being in the right place for the ball to come to him in the box and having the composure to finish.”
Asked if Bent was trying to make a point to Lambert, who inherited Villa's £18 million record signing but has given him only eight Premier League starts in his three seasons in charge, McClaren felt he was simply eager to play.
“I don't think he is trying to make a point, I just think he wants to play football,” he said.
“He could have gone somewhere else, played every game and had an easy life. I told him he would have to play well to get in our team, he'd have to prove himself. But he wanted to come here and make a difference.
“He has been accepted in the dressing room, accepted on the training pitch and he is delivering on the field.”
Bent, who won two of his 13 international caps while McClaren was England's head coach, is out of contract with Villa in the summer.Reuse content