By Darren Bent

8th Jan, 2020 | 10:30pm

'I am a big fan' - Exclusive: Bent in awe of Aston Villa player who Smith needs to unleash more

Darren Bent heaped praise on Aston Villa attacker Jota but quickly added the 28-year-old needs more game time.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Laura O’Leary, the ex-Villans attacker suggested Dean Smith needs to unleash Jota more as he offers more than Anwar El Ghazi or Trezeguet.

The 28-year-old Spanish winger started the 1-1 draw with Leicester City on the bench in the League Cup on Wednesday.

Bent hinted that Villa fans were yet to see the best of Jota since he arrived at Villa Park in the summer as he has only shown flashes of his ability.

The former Villans forward shared that he thought Jota is still recovering from the injury he sustained early in the season and implied that is the reason why he hasn’t been at his best.

When asked if Jota is performing below expectations, Bent told Football Insider: “He’s only shown flashes, but I am a big fan.

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“I liked him at Brentford, I thought he did okay at Birmingham, and now he’s at Villa.

“I do rate him as I do think he has quality and I think maybe he still needs to get back to full fitness after his injury.

“At this present time, I do think he needs to get more game time and I do trust him more than Trezeguet and El Ghazi.

“I think you get more from Jota.”

The 28-year-old has featured 12 times across all competitions this season, scoring one goal and registering two assists in the process.

Jota has previously played for English clubs such as Brentford and Birmingham in the Championship and the current campaign saw him experience Premier League football for the first time.

In other Aston Villa news, Paul Robinson revealed he thinks the Villans have the ideal Heaton replacement on their radar.