Having spent the end of last season watching Aston Villa play from the bench, sharp shooter Darren Bent is now back in-shape and on the pitch, this time for Fulham. FootballFanCast.com caught up with Darren, who was speaking at the launch of the Battlefield 4 Beta, this week to reflect on his time at Villa, moving to Fulham and the team’s performance so far this season, the World Cup and his thoughts on his new teammates!
Fulham is the sixth club you’ve played for – do you have a favourite?
I’ve enjoyed my time everywhere but I certainly have a close affinity with Ipswich town, just because I came from the system there. They are the ones that gave me the platform to grow, to live my dream and to play football on a regular basis professionally. Ipswich is the one that sits closest me, closely followed by Charlton just because they gave me the opportunity to play in the Premier League. So definitely Ipswich, then Charlton is a close second.
On the back of recent results – what is the mood like in the changing room?
The boys are all still fine. We know that we’re in a sticky situation but we’re all still fine.
Do you think you can turn it around?
Of course we can turn it around. The main thing is that we start to win games and look at some of the results and the performances because we have played well. I’m sure once we start to win games and goals start flying, we’ll be fine.
You’ve recently come back from injury – how hard is it to get back on form on the pitch?
It’s difficult. You can do all the training you like off the pitch but when it come to playing games you’re never fit enough. The only way you can get match fit is by playing matches. When I was injured for a little while because of my ankle I was still doing hard sessions every day, the first time I came back I was out of breath after ten minutes, just because you can’t get that match sharpness back without playing matches.
Martin Jol has described you and Berbatov as ‘the weapons’ – would you agree?
Yes, I would like to think that in time our partnership will really gel and we will start to do really well and win games. A partnership takes time. It started to show in the game against Arsenal, where my first goal for Fulham came. With time it will start to work.
Berbatov comes across very cool on the pitch – is he as cool off the pitch?
Yes, he’s quite suave. He comes in with jackets on, trouser shoes, shirts nice and fresh and drives a nice car. So yes, I’d say he’s quite cool, always got nice shades on. He looks like Bulgarian mafia!
It was clear from the outside that towards the end of last season your relationship with Paul Lambert had broken down – is there anything looking back now that you would do differently?
I can’t really remember one specific incident where I did something and then everything changed. I just went from one minute being all involved, to not being at all. If I could put my finger on it and why that happened then I’d do it. He’s moved on and Villa is doing well and have got some good results. I’m at Fulham now and once we find our way, we’ll be doing the same as well.
Next summer is the World Cup – do you still think you’re in with a chance?
You’d like to think so. If I have been playing well for Fulham, then there’s no reason why I can’t be involved. For me it’s just a case of not even thinking about it, just playing well at Fulham and concentrating on that, because if I play well at Fulham then I will always be in contention.
Is there one defining match in your career that stands out?
One game, which will always stick in my head, is when Sunderland played Spurs at Stadium of Light. I left Tottenham on not great terms with the way it ended and with the spotlight on me, and when we played them for the first time at White Lane I missed a penalty, and Tottenham fans were all over me, jeering. But then, when we played them at home, I scored after 30 seconds and then a minute later I scored again! That game really sits in my mind as one I was most happy with.
What are your personal aspirations for this season? Is there a goal tally?
I never put myself under pressure and set goal tallies. My aim is to play as much football as possible and play as well as I can and hopefully Fulham will do as well as they can and it will be a really good season.
Now, for a bit about your teammates… Who’s the longest in the shower?
I would probably say Derek Boateng.
Who’s the funniest?
Steven Sidwell is the biggest joker, he’s always cracking joke, or Adel Taarabt. They’re the funniest I would say.
I’m going to say Taarabt again because when I’m mucking around joking and singing in the changing room, he’ll be there dancing and it’s horrendous. Definitely Taarabt – one hundred percent.
Finally, who’s the biggest moaner?
Berbatov. By far he’s the biggest moaner about everything.
Darren Bent was speaking at the launch of the Battlefield 4 Beta, available to download NOW on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 or PC from Xbox Live, PSN and Origin. Watch the trailer for the Beta version of the ever popular first person shooter series here