LONDON (AFP) – Striker Darren Bent has hit out at Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert, in an interview published Tuesday, over his treatment during his time at Villa Park.
Bent joined Fulham on a season-long loan from Villa last week, after falling out of favor with Lambert at the Midlands club.
Villa paid a club-record fee potentially rising to $24 million ($37.6 million, 28.1 million euros) to sign Bent from Sunderland in January 2011, but he was frozen out after Lambert became coach last year.
With Christian Benteke and Andreas Weimann established as Lambert's first-choice strike partnership, the 29-year-old started just seven league games last season, scoring three goals.
"It was really difficult at Villa. A few of us were kind of alienated to train with the kids," Bent told the Daily Express newspaper.
"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."
Bent has won 13 caps for England, scoring four goals, and he hopes a successful season at Fulham will enable him to break back into the national squad in time for next year's World Cup.
"I'm not just hungry to play football again, I'm absolutely starving," he said. "I've missed out on a couple of major competitions with England, but I just hope this is my year."