Eriksson keen on Villa job

Former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson is reportedly interested in succeeding Martin O’Neill as Aston Villa’s new boss.

Former Villa star Gareth Southgate is also being linked with the vacancy that arose when O’Neill sensationally resigned on Monday, just five days before the start of the new Premier League campaign.

Ajax manager Martin Jol and the United States coach Bob Bradley are also believed to be interested in the role.

O’Neill is believed to have resigned after being told there was little money to spend on new players even if James Milner, Brad Friedel and Ashley Young leave the club this month.

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Sunderland striker Darren Bent has been ruled out of England’s friendly international against Hungary by a back injury.

The 26-year-old had been troubled by the problem during pre-season action with the Black Cats and is a major doubt for their opening Premier League game of the campaign against Birmingham City next weekend.

Bent had been hoping to impress after missing out on selection for the World Cup final in South Africa earlier this summer. To date he has won six caps for his country, but has yet to break his goalscoring duck on the international stage.

Stoke City have told Chelsea to forget about signing Bosnia international goalkeeper Asmir Begovic.

Last season’s Premier League champions and online favourites to retain the title will be without injured first-choice shot-stopper Petr Cech for the opening weeks of the campaign and Carlo Ancelotti is unsure about the capabilities of back-up keepers Hilario and Ross Turnbull.

However, Potters boss Tony Pulis, who signed the 23-year-old from Portsmouth for £3.25million in January, insists he won’t allow Begovic to leave the Britannia Stadium.

Meanwhile, it is becoming increasingly likely that Kenwyne Jones will be transferred from Sunderland to the Potters in a £9million deal this month.

The Trinidad and Tobago international has been a long-time target of Pulis who is keen to improve on his team’s mid-table finishes in each of the last two campaigns.

Jones was condemned for a poor display in Sunday’s 3-1 pre-season defeat at Hoffenheim and appears resigned to leaving Wearside.

Black Cats boss Bruce will step up his pursuit of Manchester United’s Danny Welbeck on a loan move if Jones leaves the Stadium of Light.

Jones only signed a new four-and-a-half year deal with Sunderland in January when Tottenham were rumoured to be interested in snapping him up. He moved to Sunderland from Southampton for £6million three years ago and has gone on to score 28 goals in 101 appearances for the club.