Darren Bent has said he thinks that West Ham defender Pablo Zabaleta should be playing every game for the Hammers after being benched versus Manchester City.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Aston Villa and England striker says that the Argentine offers something no other player at the London Stadium does in a desire to do nothing but defend.
The Irons were thrashed 5-0 by the reigning Premier League champions on the opening day of the season, Manuel Pellegrini playing Ryan Fredericks and Aaron Cresswell at full-back.
However, Bent says he thinks the West Ham boss made a blunder not giving Zabaleta a starting role against his former side, insisting his age does not take away from his experience and ability.
Bent told Football Insider: “I do think he should be playing every game. I know he’s getting on and that but for leadership and experience, knowing how to defend properly, organisation – someone of that calibre, who’s won the biggest trophies, you need that.
“You can’t go into the Premier League season against the champions with not so much inexperience but that want to go and defend, I don’t think West Ham have got that at the moment.”
Zabaleta, 34, has played 66 times for the Irons since joining on a free transfer and was handed a new one-year contract extension back in May to keep him at the club until the end of the season.
He has a total of 293 Premier League appearances under his belt, as well as two top-flight titles.