McLeish says Euro 2012 within reach of Bent

May 12, 2012 - 05:05
  • This file picture taken on December 26, 2009 shows Birmingham Citys Scottish manager Alex McLeish before the English Premier League football match between Birmingham City and Chelsea at St. Andrews, Birmingham, West Midlands, England. Aston Villa confirmed Friday June 17, 2011 that Alex McLeish, the former boss of their city rivals Birmingham, would be their new manager despite a backlash from Villa fans. PHOTO/ AFP

Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish believes Darren Bent could battle his way into the reckoning for Euro 2012, but concedes new England manager Roy Hodgson would have the final word.

Bent had been one of England's first-choice strikers 16 months ago but after suffering an ankle ligament injury in February he has been in a race against time to get fit for this summer's showpiece.

The Villa striker has recently stepped up his rehabilitation work in the hope of being part of Hodgson's squad, and the England medical team have been monitoring his progress.

McLeish said: "Darren is working hard and training well. He's not joined the group yet. It's important that Darren gets a good summer behind him and regroups for the start of next season.

"He has come through a lot and he's at a good stage just now. He's enjoying his one-on-ones with the physios, he's working really hard.

"Can he make the Euros? Roy Hodgson would have a better idea. If there were six weeks of the season to go, he'd certainly be back within those six weeks.

"But whether he goes to the Euros would be Roy's decision. It seems at this moment that, with another two or three weeks' training, he could be fine and available, put it that way."

McLeish admits the absence of Bent has been a massive blow for Villa, who play their final game of the season against Norwich on Sunday.

He said: "I think it's 19 games the big fellow has missed. God knows how many goals he'd have got us and maybe have taken us into a little comfort zone.

"Hopefully he makes a full recovery in the summer and he's ready all guns blazing for next season."

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