Darren Bent has revealed the extent of his "horrible" misery at Aston Villa last season and stressed his determination to make the England squad for next summer's World Cup finals in Brazil.

Roy Hodgson's team have still to qualify but, after escaping Villa on a season-long loan to Fulham, Bent is looking to the future with confidence. "It's been a long, long summer," said the striker. "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."

As for why he chose Fulham ahead of Newcastle United, whose manager, Alan Pardew, he had worked with at Charlton, he said: "I know Martin Jol. I've worked with him before, he signed me at Tottenham and I respect him hugely.

"Fulham 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 of 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 at this stage of my career I just felt that the best place for me was Fulham."

Bent, a £24m buy from Sunderland by Villa's former manager Gérard Houllier, clearly feels he can exorcise the recent past at Villa Park under Paul Lambert with a new start at Craven Cottage.

"I'm not just hungry to play football again. I'm absolutely starving," he said. "I'm ready to get going. Hopefully for the next game I'll get a piece of the action.

"I've missed on a couple of major competitions with England but I just hope this is my year. I need to get back to playing regularly, scoring goals for Fulham and that's my priority. That's what I do best."