Bent will bounce back from Euro heartache, insists Aston Villa boss McLeish
Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish is backing striker Darren Bent to bounce back from the ruptured ankle ligaments which look certain to rule him out of England's Euro 2012 squad.
Bent is facing three months out of action after suffering the injury during Saturday's Barclays Premier League clash with Wigan.
McLeish admits the player is 'gutted' at the blow, especially after missing out on England's 2006 and 2010 World Cup squads, but believes he will recover and come back strongly.
Heartbreak: Bent is set to miss Euro 2012 with ruptured ankle ligaments
McLeish said: 'I have texted Darren a couple of times and I've also spoken to him. Right now he's not at the training ground and it will be a couple of days before we see him.
'But I know he is suitably gutted. It would appear to be the case that he may miss the European Championships, as the suggestions are he's going to have to possibly get an operation.
Bounce back: McLeish is confident Bent will come back strongly
'This would definitely rule him out of the Euros, but he's still a young man and still has a big career ahead of him.
'He's got a lot of life left in him yet. It's a setback for everybody but I am sure he will come back strong and determined to get back among the goals on his return.'
McLeish has challenged the likes of Gabriel Agbonlahor and Stephen Ireland to make up for the loss of Bent at Villa.
McLeish said: 'You don't want to see any player have that bad luck. It is a big loss to us, such is his prowess as a goalscorer, but it gives an opportunity to others.
'We have other players who have to take the responsibility, players such as Gabby Agbonlahor and Stephen Ireland. That's the great challenge for them.
'It's also a chance for them to show they can handle that type of responsibility.'