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Bent gets fewer touches than any other player

Bent gets fewer touches than any other player
By Eurosport

06/12/2011 at 23:51Updated 07/12/2011 at 01:21

Aston Villa's Darren Bent has been revealed as the Premier League player who gets the fewest touches of the ball.

The former Sunderland striker, who is set to lead England's attack at Euro 2012, notched nine goals in 16 league appearances for Villa last season after signing for £24 million in January.

    But he has seen his stats slump this season, averaging just 24.7 touches for every 90 minutes he's played and seeing his goal ratio drop to five from 13 games, according to Opta figures published in the Daily Mirror.

    He has managed just 20 shots on goal, well under two efforts per game, and in two encounters (the season opener against Fulham and the recent clash with Manchester United) he didn't have a single attempt despite being on the field for the full 90 minutes.

    Next worst in the list is Swansea's Danny Graham, who averages 28.7 touches per game, while next quietest is Wigan goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi.

    Obviously, if Al Habsi had touched the ball a bit more often then perhaps Roberto Martinez's side wouldn't be propping up the table - but Manchester City's keeper Joe Hart has been almost as quiet, with 35.8 touches per match, despite being behind the stingiest defence in the league.

    Red-hot Newcastle striker Demba Ba barely does much better with just 35.4 touches per game, but he has nine goals from 18 shots on target.

    Villa manager Alex McLeish explained the stats away by admitting that his star striker Bent - who is trying desperately to confirm his spot in the England squad for Euro 2012 - has been starved of decent service this season.

    "Benty does have great movement, it's just a pity that sometimes we don't have the quality to see the runs he makes," he said.

    The stats bear out McLeish's point: Bent's five goals have come from just 11 shots on target, giving him a conversion rate that is actually slightly better than the league's top scorer Robin Van Persie.

    "I've watched games from last season and Bent only had one chance in the Man City game - his debut - and scored, so he was starved of service that night as well," McLeish added.

    "But he only needs one chance and we've got to plug away."