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Bent had waited too long for Newcastle move
DARREN BENT has suggested Newcastle United missed out on his signature because he felt more wanted by Fulham.
The Aston Villa front-man joined the Cottagers on a season long loan last week after months of uncertainty surrounding his future.
Bent was also courted by Newcastle and Crystal Palace and Alan Pardew had made no secret of a desire to have him at St James' Park.
But sources close to the 29-year-old claim he became frustrated by a lack of progress on the Newcastle front, so decided to go to Craven Cottage despite one final 11th hour bid for his services from Tyneside.
Bent 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 pay 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.
“I know Martin Jol, I’ve worked with him before, he signed me at Tottenham and I respect him hugely. They are a strong, solid team and a good, solid club who have got some fantastic players.
“It’s no secret that Newcastle were in for me, too, and there was a lot speculation and I spoke to them, but it never really materialised. Crystal Palace are a good side and I’d like to thank them for their interest, but for me at this stage of my career, I just felt that the best place for me was Fulham.”
Villa have been looking to move Bent on since Paul Lambert took charge. And the former Tottenham and Sunderland front-man claims the Villans boss was wrong to dump him, Stephen Ireland, Barry Bannan and Alan Hutton in the way he did.
That quartet were not allowed to train with the first team this summer.
Bent, who was a substitute at Sunderland on Saturday, said: “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. At the same time, I’m trying to put all that behind me. I’m a Fulham player, I’m happy to be a Fulham player and I’m looking forward to kicking on from here. I feel like I’ve got a lot of football in me.
“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.
“I’m not just hungry to play football again, I’m absolutely starving. I’m ready to get going. Hopefully for the next game I’ll get a piece of the action.”
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