Date: 20th August 2019 at 11:28am
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EXCLUSIVE

Darren Bent claims that Aston Villa boss Dean Smith was “harsh” on midfielder Conor Hourihane after axing him from the starting XI against Bournemouth.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Villa striker says that the Republic of Ireland midfielder had not done a lot wrong against Tottenham to deserve being replaced by Douglas Luiz, who ended up scoring in the Villans’ 2-1 defeat.

Hourihane started against Spurs, playing 82 minutes, but was left as an unused substitute against the Cherries on Saturday.

Bent says that it was a little bit undeserved to drop Hourihane and that he cannot see the 28-year-old getting back into the starting line up after Douglas’ strike.

“I think it was a little harsh on Hourihane,” Bent told Football Insider.

“He obviously wasn’t happy with something he saw last week but I’m a little bit disappointed. It is disappointing for Hourihane because I think he’s a really good player, he’s done well and I’m a big fan of his. Sometimes it’s just one of those things.

“It doesn’t seem like he’s going to get back in any time soon with Douglas’ goal. You can’t really say it was the wrong decision.” 

Hourihane was a mainstay for Villa on the way to their success in the Championship play-offs, playing 46 times, scoring eight goals and setting up 12 assists in the league.

Douglas meanwhile was a summer signing from Manchester City, the Brazilian midfielder never playing for the Premier League champions before his move to Villa Park.

In other Aston Villa news, Noel Whelan has revealed to Football Insider that he is in awe of one new Villa star.