Darren Bent has suggested that Aston Villa midfielder Conor Hourihane will be worried about getting back in the starting XI after being benched against Crystal Palace.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Villa and England striker says that the Republic of Ireland international will have thought he was in with a chance of returning to Dean Smith’s side after two goals in the League Cup against Crewe.
However, the 28-year-old found himself back on the substitutes’ bench, behind John McGinn, Jack Grealish and Douglas Luiz, against Palace, coming on for the final 19 minutes at Selhurst Park.
Bent says that while Villa will need everyone to contribute throughout the season, Hourihane will have doubts over his chances of forcing his way into Smith’s starting XI in the immediate future.
“Hourihane must be thinking: ‘What is going on here?'” Bent told Football Insider.
“Yes, he got off the bench but he scored two goals in the week (v Crewe). He must be thinking what does he need to do to be starting, but they’re going to need all hands on deck.
“I thought they’d comfortably survive as there are lesser teams than them but you see teams like Southampton getting a point against Manchester United with 10 men, maybe it’s not a foregone conclusion.”
Villa find themselves in 18th heading into the first international break of the season, with one win and three defeats from their opening four games.
Their first match back after the two-week hiatus sees them play host to West Ham, the last game between the two sides ending in a 2-0 victory for the Hammers back in 2016.
In other Aston Villa news, Darren Bent has been fuming to Football Insider about one man’s “shocker” in the club’s defeat to Palace.