Aston Villa latest: Keane rumours denied, Bent admits rift, youngster in squad

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Aston Villa have denied speculation that Roy Keane left his role as assistant manager at the club following a training ground altercation with a first-team player yesterday.

Keane quit his role at Villa with immediate effect this morning, saying that he was unable to commit fully to his assistant roles with the Premier League club and the Republic of Ireland.

After just five months in the Midlands, rumours quickly began to spread that the former Manchester United captain was involved in a training ground bust-up, but Sky Sports reporter Pete Colley, who was covering the events, says the club have vigorously denied those claims.

The rumours that came out straight away were that there had been a bust-up in training yesterday with a senior player," he told Sky Sports News HQ.

 "The club totally refutes that suggestion, but these rumours emanated within about half an hour of this statement coming out so you read into that what you will."

Striker Darren Bent, who was interviewed on the same channel shortly afterwards to discuss his recent loan move to Brighton & Albion, was certainly surprised at the news, insisting that there were no signs of any problems with the Irishman.

"To be honest, he seems like he really enjoyed the role," he said. "I got on really well with him and thought he was a fantastic coach. I'm sure a lot of the boys will be sad to see him go.

"I think he got people playing, and what people most respected about him is that he told it as it was, to be fair.

“And if you weren’t playing well he would tell you. He wouldn’t hide from the fact and, as I said, personally he was fantastic for me. I had a lot of contact with him on different aspects of the game and I’m sorry to see him go."

Having joined Brighton this week on a month-long loan until December 29, Bent also admits that life under Paul Lambert at Villa had reached "boiling point".

The 30-year-old is in the final season of his contract at Villa Park, and has continued to find first-team opportunities sparse since the arrival of Lambert in the summer of 2012.

The former England international spent last season on loan at Fulham, where he scored just six times in 30 total appearances, and hasn't started a Premier League match this term, making seven brief cameos for a total of 83 minutes.

With a record of 15 goals in 69 league games since the start of the 2011-12 campaign, his form has been in stark contrast to that which once made him one of the top-flight’s most coveted marksman, but he believes he wasn't given enough chances under the Scot to prove his worth.

"I just want to play and I'd reached my boiling point," he told BBC Sussex.

"It was hard not playing in Paul's first season, but this was worse. The team was struggling, not scoring goals and you still don't get a chance. There are only so many slaps in the face you can take.

"Obviously under Alex McLeish [during the 2012-13 season] I got injured in December, but I think I'd got 12 goals before Christmas.

"It was going really well but I had a big injury, missed the second half of the the season, and then Paul came in and I've just not got on as well with him as I'd have liked."

In a corresponding move to Bent's loan, Lambert opted to recall youngster Callum Robinson from his stint at Preston North End, following the 19-year-old's impressive performances.

The Academy product wasn't scheduled to return to Villa until January but, after netting five goals for Simon Grayson's side, including a hat-trick in the FA Cup against Havant and Waterlooville, he is set to go straight into the squad for Saturday's trip to Burnley.

"He went out there and scored five then on the day he came back he scored a hat-trick in training," Lambert was quoted as telling reporters in the Birmingham Mail. "Callum won’t let you down that’s for sure.

"Okay, it was League One [where he got his goals] but he still had to put the ball in the net.

“He’s a young guy but I like Callum, he’s one who has got a chance. If he keeps his feet on the ground, that’s the big thing. His confidence will be sky-high now.”

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