Darrent Bent is hoping to reignite his career while on loan at Fulham after being “alienated” at Aston Villa.
The 29-year-old struggled to get into Paul Lambert’s first team following Christian Benteke’s fine debut season at Villa Park.
The former Charlton, Tottenham and Sunderland striker admits it is difficult not to hold a grudge following his treatment, but is keen to kick on and impress at his new club.
“It’s been a long, long summer,” he told the Daily Telegraph. “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.
“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. 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.”
The striker says his attention is now fixed on impressing at his new club and earning himself a recall to the England national team ahead of next summer’s World Cup in Brazil.
“I’ve missed out on a couple of major competitions with England, but I just hope this is my year,” he continued.
“I need to get back to playing regularly, scoring goals for Fulham. That’s what I do best. There’s still so much to come from me, I can promise you that.”