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Burton Albion

The bleak stats that suggests this player has absolutely no future at Derby County

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Once upon a time, Darren Bent was special.

He swapped clubs for fees totalling in the region of £47m, once setting Aston Villa back £24m alone.

He was regarded as a natural goal scorer and in stints with Spurs, Sunderland and Aston Villa he went some way to proving that.

The striker scored 164 league goals between starting at Ipswich in 2001 and leaving Pride Park in January.

His journey took him to Charlton and Fulham, on loan at Derby as well as Brighton before making his Rams switch permanent. He is every inch the journeyman, a ‘gun for hire’ scoring upon request.

Sadly, it seems he has become a shadow of his former self.

12 goals from 58 outings at Pride Park was an average return, but not one that could earn him first team football. He was on the move again in January, this time out on loan. No multi-million pounds deals, just a struggling Championship club desperate for goals on the cheap.

Burton Albion are punching well above their weight, managing to stretch their Championship stay out as long as they possibly can. When Bent rocked up they hoped he could score a few goals, maybe enough to give them another year of big crowds and huge teams. So far, that hasn’t transpired.

Arguably the most important statistic is goals and Darren Bent hasn’t got any for Burton Albion. He’s turned out eight times for them, but they’ve been eight barren outings. He doesn’t even average a shot per game, with a ratio of 0.9 shots per appearance. That could be down to the service he’s provided with of course, but you’d still expect him to create a shot a game from somewhere, surely?

His aerial prowess has faded too, he was never regarded as a target man but he wins just 27% of his aerial battles. That means, in real terms, he’s beaten three times out of four. That stats suggest he can’t head and he can’t shoot, not the striker Burton Albion needed at their time of crisis.

He can pass though, he’s made 22.5 passes per game with an accuracy of 65%. That isn’t bad, but it isn’t what he’s been brought in to do.

I think it is fair to say Darren Bent hasn’t been a success at Burton Albion, they’re still balanced precariously in the relegation zone and as yet, the big-name striker hasn’t scored a single goal to get them out of trouble.

The issue here though isn’t Bent’s application, it is his age.

His game was all about pace and power, stealing a march on defenders with a sharp turn and blistering acceleration.

Now he’s 34, those attributes have left him and if anything, he should be in League Two putting his experience to better use.

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