Villa's Darren Bent ruled out for three months with ankle injury

Darren Bent

Aston Villa striker Darren Bent is not expected to play again this season after being ruled out for up to three months with ruptured ankle ligaments.

It is a huge blow to the 28-year-old's hopes of playing for England at Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine.

Bent is unlikely to be available until the end of May, ahead of England's first game against France on 11 June.

"I'm gutted to be out for so long at such a crucial stage of the season," said Bent on Twitter.external-link

"Hopefully my recovery will be as quick as possible."

The former Spurs and Sunderland forward left the pitch on a stretcher after suffering the injury in Aston Villa's goalless draw at Wigan on Saturday.

"Darren Bent has undergone scans and he has seen a top ankle specialist in London," said Villa, in a club statement.

"He faces up to 12 weeks on the sidelines having ruptured ankle ligaments in his left foot and he is unlikely to play again this season.

"Dr Ian McGuinness and the Villa medical staff have been liaising with the England medical team about the extent of his injury.

"Darren will undergo a further examination in seven days to determine the need for an operation."

Bent - who missed out on both the 2006 and 2010 World Cup squads - is now set to miss another major international tournament.

With Wayne Rooney suspended for the opening two games of the European Championship, the next England manager is looking short of striking options.

Caretaker manager Stuart Pearce has three relatively inexperienced forwards in his squad for Wednesday night's friendly with the Netherlands.

Manchester United's Danny Welbeck, who has three caps, is joined by Chelsea's Daniel Sturridge (one) and the uncapped Sunderland striker Fraizer Campbell, who has only just returned after 18 months out with a knee ligament injury.

Bent landed awkwardly after a challenge from Antolin Alcaraz during the second half at the DW Stadium, which the Latics share with rugby league giants Wigan Warriors, and left the ground wearing a protective boot.

"He was in agony in the dressing room," said Villa manager Alex McLeish.

"The pitch was very heavy because of the rugby. It sapped the energy from a lot of players and Darren has been unlucky to go into one of the pieces of turf that has been dug up.

"Normally it is your ligaments that are affected in a situation like that. He has been grimacing and has been a little bit nauseous in the dressing room."

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