Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

Bent unhappy with Villa treatment

Darren Bent found playing opportunities limited at Aston Villa last season

Darren Bent has criticised former manager Paul Lambert, accusing him of "alienating" him at Aston Villa.

The striker last week joined Fulham on loan in a bid to revive his Premier League career and his England ambitions, having been frozen out of the first-team picture at Villa Park last season.

Bent started just seven games in the league during the last campaign, scoring three goals, as Christian Benteke and Andreas Weimann established themselves as Lambert's first-choice partnership.

And the 29-year-old told the Daily Express: "It was really difficult at Villa. A few of us were kind of alienated to train with the kids.

"It has been difficult. There were times when I was thinking, 'Do I really deserve this?' It's all well and good not being part of the squad - but to be treated like we have been is bad.

"It was horrible. It wasn't so much the injuries - although they certainly didn't help - it was just the uncertainty. There were times I was in the squad and times I wasn't, and there was just no explanation why.

"I understand that not every player can be every manager's cup of tea but to be alienated like that, to be kicked out of the first-team dressing room, when I've played a long time, when I'm an international, just felt a bit disappointing."

Bent has won 13 caps for his country, with four goals, and hopes a prolific campaign at Craven Cottage can catapult him back into the reckoning for the World Cup qualifying campaign and next summer's tournament in Brazil.

He said: "I'm not just hungry to play football again, I'm absolutely starving. I've missed out on a couple of major competitions with England, but I just hope this is my year.

"I need to get back to playing regularly and scoring goals for Fulham - that's my priority. There's still so much to come from me, I can promise you that. I'm just desperate to remind people what I can do."

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