Villa man­ager turned me into an alien, blasts Bent

Midweek Sport - - SPORT - By JIMMY POLLOCK

DAR­REN BENT has blasted As­ton Villa man­ager Paul Lam­bert, ac­cus­ing him of “alien­at­ing” him at the club.

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 hot­shot Chris­tian Ben­teke and An­dreas Weimann es­tab­lished them­selves as Lam­bert’s first-choice part­ner­ship.

“It was re­ally dif­fi­cult at Villa. A few of us were kind of alien­ated to train with the kids,” said Bent.

“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.

Kicked

“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, scor­ing 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 added: “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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