Darren Bent is determined to get back to his best at Aston Villa, after enduring a ‘crappy couple of weeks’ at the club.
The striker was appointed Villa captain at the start of the campaign, but has since lost the armband to new boy Ron Vlaar, with manager Paul Lambert suggesting the added pressure was distracting the England international.
Bent’s misery was then compounded as he discovered he had been dropped for Villa’s Midlands derby with West Brom on Sunday, just hours before the Premier League match began.
The 28-year-old emerged from the bench to score the game’s equaliser, however, and is now looking to push on and get back to his best.
“I felt disappointed when I didn’t start the game. It was very frustrating for me,” Bent said.
“It has been a crappy couple of weeks for me finding out I was no longer captain and, here again, to find out before the game I wasn’t even playing.
“I can’t remember the last time I didn’t start. I only found out when the gaffer read out the teamsheet. It was very frustrating finding out that way.
“But I’m getting better and better with each game. I can’t try any harder.”
Bent denied gesturing towards Lambert after his late strike, insisting he was waving to his family in the crowd.
Another interested spectator was England boss Roy Hodgson, who is yet to select the former Charlton man in any of his squads.
Injury scuppered Bent’s chances of going to Euro 2012 but, despite not figuring for his country in nearly a year, the striker has not given up hope of being involved in the upcoming World Cup 2014 qualifiers.
“I hope the goal will give me a boost and I’ll be back in (Hodgson’s) plans,” he said.