Darren Bent's hopes of playing for England at UEFA EURO 2012 appear to be shattered after it was confirmed he will be sidelined for up to three months with ruptured ankle ligaments.
The Aston Villa striker visited a top ankle specialist in London this afternoon and his worst fears were confirmed by the midlands club.
It means he is unlikely to be available until the end of May, with the EURO finals getting under way just over a week later in Poland and Ukraine. With Wayne Rooney suspended for the opening two games of the tournament, Bent was set to play a key role for his country.
He was desperate to play in a major tournament for the first time after being overlooked for the 2006 and 2010 FIFA World Cup™ squads. But the setback suffered during Villa's goalless draw at Wigan in the English Premier League on Saturday looks to have put paid to those hopes.
Villa said in a statement: "Darren Bent has undergone scans and he has seen a top ankle specialist this afternoon in London. He faces up to 12 weeks on the sidelines having ruptured ankle ligaments in his left foot in the game against Wigan 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," the statement went on. "Darren will undergo a further examination in seven days to determine the need for an operation."