Darren Bent tells brilliant anecdote about Aston Villa nightmare under Lambert
By Matt Farr
Former Aston Villa striker has offered an interesting revelation regarding his nightmare spell at the club.
The 33-year-old became the club’s most expensive signing of all-time when he arrived at Villa Park in a deal worth up to £24million in January 2011, a transfer record which has yet to be broken.
He scored 25 goals from 72 appearances in all competitions for the then-Premier League outfit, but his spell at the club took a sour turn following the arrival of Paul Lambert ahead of the 2012-13 season.
Bent was immediately handed the Aston Villa captaincy while Stiliyan Petrov continued his recovery from leukaemia, however, he soon find himself replaced in the role, and dropped from the first-team.
He spent the following season on loan at Premier League rivals Fulham, where he scored six goals from 30 appearances in all competitions.
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But upon his return to the club at the end of the season, he continued to feature only as a backup option under Lambert, and was later sent out to Championship duo Brighton and Derby on loan.
Following a successful spell at Pride Park, Bent acquired a permanent transfer to the club in June 2015, with Aston Villa opting against offering him an extended deal.
Whilst telling a brilliant anecdote to the Football League Paper about his rollercoaster ride at Villa Park, the English striker revealed that his exile from the first-team setup came completely ‘out of the blue.’
He said: “What shocked me was that it came out of the blue. When Lambert came in, I was made captain. But then we had a few conflicts on the training pitch. A few of his ideas I didn’t agree with and it just kind of went from there.
“At the end of the season he said ‘I’m going to put you in another changing room with the other lads. With the kids.’ But 12 months down the line he had to come back and say ‘We need you now, you are back in the squad.’
“A few times I tried to talk about Lambert but didn’t get any answers. I heard many times it was about cutting wages. But just because I wasn’t in the squad didn’t mean they weren’t paying me.”
Bent, who has been capped 13 times by the England national team, has been an important player for Derby County in recent seasons.
He has yet to help the club earn promotion to the Premier League, but his goals have proven important in ensuring Derby remain part of the promotion fight. He netted 13 goals for the club this season.
In other Aston Villa news, Steve Bruce has revealed his fears ahead of the new season.