Darren Bent today hit back at his Villa treatment and took a swipe at the club for freezing him out.
The claret and blues £24m record signing is upset over being “alienated” at the club after joining Fulham on loan.
Bent completed his season-long move last week and was on the bench for the Cottagers’ 1-0 win at Sunderland on Saturday.
He was exiled by manager Paul Lambert and was joined by Stephen Ireland, Alan Hutton and Barry Bannan in training away from the squad this summer.
“It was horrible,” said Bent. “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.
“It was really difficult at Villa because we weren’t allowed to play in any matches, 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 is bad.”
The 29-year-old was also wanted by Crystal Palace and was close to joining the Eagles before Fulham made their move.
Newcastle were also linked but never got as far as agreeing a deal with Villa despite director of football Joe Kinnear’s claims of talking terms with Bent’s camp.
And the England hitman is relieved to end his troubles in Birmingham in favour of a switch to west London.
He said: “It’s been a long, long summer. There’s been a lot of speculation about where I was going to go and where I was going to play my football, but it was Fulham who did the most work in getting me to the club and that’s why I’m their player.”