Darren Bent unsure over Euro 2012 fitness hopes


Aston Villa and England striker Darren Bent has started rehabilitation work after suffering ankle ligament damage in February but says it is too early to indicate whether he will be fit for Euro 2012.

The 28-year-old has been ruled out for the remainder of the domestic season but has come off crutches and is undergoing gym work and swimming as the first part of his recovery programme.

He said: "It's too early to say for England. We'll have to wait until I'm outside running and kicking a ball.

"The quicker I'm out on the pitch running, the quicker I can have an inkling about Euro 2012.

"But I am on the mend, can walk without crutches and have just started rehab work in the pool and also doing stuff in the gym as well."

Bent had established himself as one of England's first-choice strikers since his £18million move from Sunderland 15 months ago.

Meanwhile, Villa manager Alex McLeish is hopeful injured duo Charles N'Zogbia and Alan Hutton can return ahead of schedule and play some part in the Easter programme.

Winger N'Zogbia was expected to be out for a month with a knee injury suffered a fortnight ago and defender Hutton for three weeks with a calf strain picked up against Arsenal 11 days ago.

But the pair have resumed training - although not with the main squad - and McLeish is optimistic they may be available for Saturday's trip to Liverpool or Monday's home clash with Stoke.

The Scot said: "They are making good progress and we hope, if not available for Saturday's game, then they will possibly be available for the Stoke match.

"Charles and Alan are working separately from the main group with Alan Smith (club physio) and he is happy with their progress. The players have also said they feel good."