Former Aston Villa defender Gareth Southgate says they've missed Darren Bent's goals as they've spiraled into freefall.

Southgate is certain there would be no relegation fears around Villa Park had Bent stayed fit this season.

He told the Daily Star Sunday: "It was a massive blow losing Darren. I think it is fair to say that, had he been fit, he could have virtually guaranteed survival for Villa.

"The club has lost some good players in the last few years with Stewart Downing and Ashley Young going last season and James Milner and Gareth Barry being sold before that.

"They are a young side who have lost ­experienced players at bad times."